The lead up to the Olympic Games brought a flurry of construction in Beijing. Buildings sprung up left and right as if everyone’s in a mood to construct. Here’s a list of the modern marvels which you must see when you’re in town for a visit:
1. National Stadium aka Bird’s Nest – This 91,000 seating capacity stadium is located north of the 4th ring road at the southern part of the Olympic Green. It’s the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympics and Paralympic Games. It is also where the athletic events are being held. Rumors said that it will be the home of Beijing Guo’an after the Games.
2. National Aquatics Center aka Water Cube – Located just right beside the Bird’s Nest. This PTW designed structure is the home of the swimming, diving and synchronized swimming events. This was where more than 20 world records were broken in this year’s Olympics and where Michael Phelps pocketed 8 gold medals. The facade is made up of ETFE pillows and is lit up with different colors at night.
3. CCTV Tower – Designed by Rem Coolhaas for the government TV station. This tower is in the opposite side of town where the original CCTV station is located. It is still currently under construction but the facade is already completed. People dubbed it as the inverted pants for it’s design.
4. National Center for Performing Arts aka The Egg – This controversial building west of Tiananmen Square was designed by Paul Andreu. It cost more than a billion dollars and critics say is a waste of money. Local people complained that it doesn’t jive with the surroundings and the difficulty in cleaning the exterior. Inside this building is fantastic. If you get a chance, try to watch an opera or a ballet just to see the inside.
5. Wukesong Basketball Stadium – This structure will be the home of the National Basketball Association in China. The US “Redeem Team” won their gold in this stadium and talks are already in the making to have exhibition matches between the China National Basketball Association and the US NBA teams. I haven’t seen the place yet but the facade is fantastic.
So.. what are you waiting for? Add one more day to your itinerary and visit all of these fantastic buildings.
Photo credits: Reuters, cnsphoto, various architectural websites