Every easy credit cycle sees some of the worst buildings built in the worst places and the worst possible way. For example, the crowning achievement of the 60’s boom was the decision to build a huge double tower complex in lower Manhattan. Rockerfeller controlled the State of NY and used government funds to build the WTC complex. I watched in total disgust, as this monster thing was built. I could see it had precious little internal support. Rather than being like a honeycomb, it was a pile of pancakes supported by slender steel exterior sheathes. It collapsed. Well, this cycle, even more unstable, ill-designed monstrosities are going up and just as fast, vanishing, the latest one is in China.
But it is not Chinese, it was designed by crazy European and American architects. These ‘master builders’ have gone totally insane and have been building increasingly bizarre, stupid and nearly impossible to repair structures of every possible sort, all of which are basically unstable, unsound or fire traps. The arrogance of the builders is painfully at odds with the power of Mother Nature, random terrorists or simple Time passing and things degrading from new to old.
I always wince when I see the CCTV center building. It is screaming for a bad ending. It isn’t ending yet but it certainly has the air of a doomed structure since it depends on staying totally intact and carefully kept under repair in order to even exist. It won’t slowly turn into a ruin, it will destabilize very swiftly if the roof has even the slightest problems.
The building on the left is the one that is burning down right now. It looks solid but that was an illusion. It is not solid at all, it is an empty shell, actually, it is a chimney as I shall explain later. First, let’s look at the architect who built this monstrosity:
A fierce fire engulfed one of the showcase Olympics-era buildings in Beijing on Monday, the last day of celebrations for the lunar new year when the city was ablaze with fireworks.
The building was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and is part of China Central Television’s new headquarters, an angular wonder of modernist architecture that sits astride the city. The CCTV complex was a hugely expensive trophy of Beijing’s pre-Olympics building boom, the result of many billions of dollars the ruling Communist Party devoted to making Beijing a city of the future.
I hope the Chinese leaders still read this blog! Someone ought to tell them, they should not only sue Mr. Rem Koolhaas but punish him, too. Heh. Send him to China for some Chinese discipline. Maybe, just maybe, this will put the Fear of God or rather, The Dragon, into the heads of the crazy architects.
The Office for Metropolitan Architecture won the contract from the Beijing International Tendering Co. to construct the CCTV Headquarters and the Television Cultural Center by its side on December 20, 2002. It is among the first of 300 new towers in the new Beijing CBD. Administration, news, broadcasting, and program production offices and studios are all contained inside.
Set on a site that’s about as large as 37 football fields, Rem Koolhaas’s television authority headquarters in Beijing may initially seem intimidating. This 54-story tower leans and looms like some kind of science-fiction creature poised to stomp all over the surrounding central business district.
But if the five-million-square-foot building is one of the largest ever constructed, its architect sees it as a people-friendly reinvention of the skyscraper.
“Awe is not usually a condition our buildings inspire,” Mr. Koolhaas said in an interview at the Museum of Modern Art, where a show devoted to the Central Chinese Television building — known as CCTV — opened yesterday. “Amidst all the skyscrapers there, it’s relatively low. It will feel accessible.”
Tina di Carlo, an assistant curator in MoMA’s architecture and design department, said the goal of the exhibition was not so much to bring the CCTV design to people’s attention; the building is already something of a phenomenon in architectural circles. She said she and Mr. Koolhaas’s firm set out to address the preconceptions that people bring to an enormous tower. “It’s a radical rethinking of the tall building typography,” she said.
The radical thinking here is, ‘How can I build something even less stable, less sustainable than the WTC?’ I am disgusted with these people. Frankly, a simple rectangle building does the exact same job at much less cost. And is easier to evacuate. Imagine being stuck in the upper stories that are supported by nothing if the building suddenly has a terminal event? Escape is nearly impossible. The chances of that collapsing during such an event is too high. There are no supports over the greatest point of stress which is the outermost corner. There is no way stress can be relieved except by falling downwards!
This thing is over 30 stories worth of empty space! This is around 300 ft of drop? Insane!!! What about earthquakes? China has these as much as Japan!
Am I hallucinating, or does the façade of the TVCC Building in Beijing, designed by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA, really show the iconography of the filmstrip?
How amazing would it be if the image, the eikon or icon, of the building would actually refer to the process of image making! Every hotel room would be another frame, a potential scene in the continuous film of the city. It would be exhibitionism, powered by OMA.
But I am not really sure about this iconography though. The OMA-website doesn’t spend a word on it, suggesting there is really no representation to discuss. Placing the iconography in the oeuvre of OMA however, there is an explicit obsession with pixels that looks rather familiar to the façade of the TVCC. Here the pixels just have become frames.
There were the pixels in the Gakuen Tower in Tokyo a while back, the pixels for St. Petersburg, the pixels in Singapore, even other pixels in Beijing, and the pixels in Hamburg.
The iconography of the film-frames is becoming a quite popular one in architecture, as it relates to an increasing number of buildings with a program that relates to film. At Eikongraphia I earlier discussed the folded filmstrips that Foreign Office designed for the BBC in London, and more recently the distorted historical filmframes on the façade of the Insitute for Image and Sound in Hilversum by Neutelings Riedijk.
This website has the interior view of this obvious firetrap:
I swore when I saw this interior plan! This is 10x stupider than the WTC! Back in 1974, I took one look at the huge set of elevator shafts and said to my friends who were beginning to work there, ‘Talk about a 1,000 foot chimney! Pray there is never a fire here!’
Well, in the bombing attack in the early 1990’s, it was a chimney and sent the smoke to the top and nearly asphyxiated the staff. In 2001, the fireball from the exploding planes went straight down the shafts and everyone using the elevators or near the doors as they opened when this happened, died instantly. Bad, bad architecture was at fault from top to bottom.
In the present case, the stupid architects made the interior a chimney. They even thoughtfully left a ‘void’ at the top to be the exit area for any fire that needs more oxygen. The bottom of this huge fireplace is the front doors. Open them up and the air sucks into the atrium/chimney and roars through the void and into the sky! Bingo!
I advise the Chinese to punish whoever decided to OK this incredibly stupid design and of course, extradite the architects and if anyone died in this fire, charge them with murder. Somehow, we have to stop this madness. Building things that kill is evil. Below is another tower designed by these demonic idiotic architects:
What is this? A sly way of killing off all the Chinese people? Why are the Chinese falling for this? Death wishes? This tower makes the WTC look like stable architecture. This thing is beyond doomed, it screams to be kicked over. And if humans don’t do it, Mother Nature will. This is like giving her bowling pins to hit with her many balls she has.
As usual, I visit their web page. It is as badly designed as their stupid buildings!!!! When I see a crummy web site, I know in my bones, the owners of these crappy sites are crappy in all other ways. Here is their opening page, and it is a picture of a building under construction.
It is actually uglier than I show here. I clipped the screen which made the text look extremely small. I enlarged it so readers can read the tiny type. I clicked on the links and look at the busy, difficult to read, stupid page that came up on top of the ugly opening page!
Painful to read. Messy looking, too. The tiny photos look lost behind the huge, hulking, purple-dark background of chaos. These people have bad taste. Bad taste that seems to please many foolish people flush with easy funny money. No wonder the world’s economy is collapsing. Our architects are as responsible as anyone in all this.
Below are two other unstable, ugly, hideous death traps, one is already built in Spain, the country going bankrupt due to hyper-real estate bubble popping and the other is proposed for poor London which is reeling from the popping of its goofy real estate bubble.
P.O. BOX 483
BERLIN, NY 12022
Make checks out to ‘Elaine Supkis’