Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drawing More Attention

Last week I mentioned my colleagues talking about the new CCTV tower and how the burned out hotel next to it looks like a male organ.
And now the ongoing saga continues.
The numerous online comments and media criticisms of the futuristic building and the blackened one next to it have led to architect Rem Koolhaas striking back, saying both buildings do not allude to female and male genitalia at all.
On the Office for Metropolitan Architecture website, Koolhaas apparently makes the following statement (which I cannot find right now): "The glorious CCTV building stands as the shining symbol for the ever-changing world order, and that's the exact intent of our design."
The statement also denies that pictures portraying the tower as human genitalia were produced by OMA, and that instead they were pictures circulated on the Internet in 2005 and are not connected to the architectural firm.
Did he really have to issue that denial?
Some recent media headlines include, "Designer fools 1.3 billion Chinese," and "the building should be pulled down as a national disgrace."
When the construction plan for the building was published in 2003, many here were outraged by the unusual shape, thus the nickname, "da kouchar" or "big underpants", and its high construction cost using large amounts of steel to support the structure. Others were annoyed that foreign architects were chosen to design an iconic building in the Chinese capital.
Maybe that explains why a few months back Koolhaas did an interview with CNN's Talk Asia in South Korea at the opening of his "transformer" building in Seoul, than face the wrath of Chinese citizens in Beijing over his CCTV building design.
The even graver injustice was the fire that destroyed the building next to the CCTV tower that was supposed to house the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on February 9, the last day of Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. The culprit? CCTV officials themselves who set of high-grade fireworks, which enraged citizens to a degree hotter than the inferno itself, seeing all their taxpayer dollars go up in smoke.
This is why the Chinese have an even greater disdain for CCTV, even though they already make fun of its ultra-conservative newscasts with robotic anchors. Even when the building was engulfed in flames, there was no breaking news to say its own building was on fire. Not really on the ball.
Since then construction workers seem to still continue working on the building that was supposed to be ready for the Beijing Olympics last year, and then in December and then in the spring, but that was postponed after the fiery incident.
The broadcaster has said its staff will move into the new building in time for October 1, the 60th anniversary of the PRC and the 50th anniversary of CCTV.
They had better move in soon, otherwise the public will have yet another reason to complain about this complex that has already become legendary in having more criticisms than praises.

1 comment:

gung said...

what a lame subject to discuss.