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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Faulty Towers - China Looking for Olympic Spotlight

From: (thank you!)

Just like the classic British comedy was set in a slightly crazy hotel, this temple of propaganda and Olympic Games TV coverage is being built in the middle of a pretty nutty ideological and political situation, on a fantastically tight schedule.

Everybody may have a different take on what China should and should not do, but one thing is clear - they are doing their darnedest to appear the best in the Olympic spotlight. We've heard about their desperate attempt to make Peking an ecologically cleaner city (by a massive killing of cats, no less!) and we may doubt if they are really going to clean up their act - but they certainly choose eye-catching designs when it comes to architecture.

Since Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) was awarded the contract on December 20, 2002 - the concept sketches were busily brought to life in the middle of Peking. On this page you'll see the most recent construction stages. But first, here are some original visions:

Check out the huge screen showing live Olympics coverage:

Two high-rise buildings at the height of 230 meters are inclined toward each other, connected by spectacular glass and beam structures (Japanese company designed the irregular grid on the building's facade)

The angle of "falling" of these towers is pretty singificant: 10 degrees incline - twice the "falling angle" of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Depending on which tower you'll be working in, your political and sports coverage will lean significantly, either to the left, or to the right... just kidding.

(images credit:

Construction is fully underway

The center will cost upwards of 900 million dollars, providing office space for 10,000 people.

The building is also designed to withstand even a magnitude 8 earthquake.

Think about about it: the "Falling Towers" building will be only the FIRST of 300 towers that will be constructed in Peking business district. Truly totalitarian scale of planning:

The whole blocks were demolished and neighborhoods relocated, but at least there were not conflicts like this one:

The following photo probably summarizes the situation: a lot of ideological "show-and-tell" amid the ever-present stifling pollution:

(photo by Ng Han Guan / AP)

See a pretty good round-up of other current Olympic projects in China here.

Physical Education Lessons

Here is how Chinese kids are being "prepped" for future Olympics. They will either grow up to be a formidable contestants, or simply snap their spines in the process:-

(image credit: Natalie Behring)

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