Thursday, April 02, 2009

Beijing's Modern Playground

I wouldn't say Beijing is a very cosmopolitan city (it's almost there though), but I would like to note on how famous architects were wont to put their stamp on the reimagining of the city. While Shanghai is mostly Art Deco and Hong Kong is distinctively Norman Foster's sandbox, Beijing opened its doors to a gaggle of architects that makes the city a clever pastiche of shining new buildings.

Too bad the tower won't be open until middle of this year.

My favorite would be Rem Koolhas' insanely playful CCTV Building. It looks like something I would've created with my Lego playset. I was pretty much fascinated by it that I think I dropped by the Guomao area thrice. Twice by chance, once by necessity.

Most tourists wouldn't probably go out of their way to drop by the CBD, so I would recommend Paul Andreu's egg-shaped building, the National Performing Arts Centre. Apart from his numerous works of gleaming glass and steel, Andreu hits closer to home as one of his early works included NAIA Terminal 1. (Just as an aside, I personally like T1 as it has a good architectural character, discounting the fact that it's quite old).

Actually, it's only half an egg...

You may also chance upon the nice artsy-fartsy district up north in San Litun. They've got this quirkily colored glass compound called The Village. It's like a cathedral-inspired shopping mall.

On my way to Sanlitun, I found this mural in a subway pass


Maybe I should do more research - I didn't chance upon an IM Pei work in Beijing...

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