CCTV Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas, Beijing
Saw the future yesterday. The renowned CCTV Headquarters building in Beijing, created for the China Central Television company by Rem Koolhaas, possibly his most provocative, unconventional and daring structure to date. I had the unique opportunity to drift in a private tour with the architect. The building is a megastructure filled with undeterminable functionality, and with its miracle of engineering prominently carved into its facade. As unconventional as it appears on the outside, defying modernity’s cartesian urbanism, on the inside the CCTV building plays the tune of the twenty-first century even louder. On the exterior, the building is a fusion of Laozi‘s yin and Kongzi‘s yang, with its tilting of vertical volumes and the extreme cantilever of its L-shaped bridging element, still, the interior is an ever more intense interaction between the forces of order and chaos. Here, program and creativity meet the inevitability of the natural laws of stress and construction. By not compromising on any of these parameters, a poetic and simultaneously alien spatial awareness is created. It is an awareness of form and space that eludes our logic at present. I had the feeling I was experiencing new ethics. Am not even sure what I mean by that but it’s as if the building contains a knowledge of times to come, in which codes of conduct will be very different from today. As if, once its occupants have arrived, this new order, natural to them, will rule their actions. Of course, the Chinese context adds to this impression, and the intense mix of pollution, sand storm and smog adds to the aura of distant planets and space travel. But even without these factors, the feeling was omnipresent. The fact that the building was completely void of people and furniture supported the notion that we were drifting into a sci-fi reality, as did Koolhaas’ signature hacking and carving into the platonic volumes and plains he distilled from his very unique view of the future. CCTV Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas of Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) for China Central Television(CCTV).