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Massive Rem Koolhaas Structure Gutted by Fire in Beijing


A structure in Beijing, China that was part of a group of buildings designed by architect Rem Koolhaas and OMA which was under construction and slated to house the Mandarin Oriental Hotel was almost completely gutted by fire yesterday. The larger structure, to be the headquarters of CCTV, did not suffer serious damage.

WSJ reports: "The inferno– which CCTV has admitted was caused by a fireworks display arranged by one its own employees-– turned the 44-story Television Cultural Center into blackened hulk...The building– which was to house the five-star Mandarin Oriental luxury hotel, a theater and recording studios-– was clad in a unique skin of titanium zinc alloy, a material that its designers believed would allow the building to rust with dignity and endure the passage of time better than other metal buildings, Pasternack wrote. (To some ordinary passersby, however, the shiny exterior resembled corrugated aluminum siding more suited to shantytowns.) Critics of the overall CCTV compound design say the project’s gargantuan size, the TVCC building’s boot shape and cantilevered overhang of the main building are designed to inspire fear and symbolize state power and media control. As if to reinforce this, Internet users complained that last night’s inferno was played down by Chinese media."

Watch video of the blaze, AFTER THE JUMP...


There are huge debates on the YouTube pages regarding the structure here and the WTC about why this structure didn't collapse.

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  1. Thats too bad... It was a beautiful building. They will have to rebuild it. Fortunately the other building (the overhanging one) is still around.

    Posted by: Landis | Feb 10, 2009 8:50:41 AM

  2. That is the scariest building complex ever! It's only a matter of time before it's being used as the evil headquarters of some organization determined to enslave the world.

    Never forget, Communist China is a heinous regime that enslaves prisoners to work in factories, arrests and kills political dissidents, steals our technology, and uses unfair trade practices to undermine our econmy.

    I'm jes sayin'.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Feb 10, 2009 1:01:59 PM

  3. Wow. that is a HUGE fire! i wonder what was burning so hot? You would think that the sprinklers would squelch it. They did install sprinklers, didn't they? This will be interesting to follow as they learn more about it.

    Posted by: LADave | Feb 10, 2009 1:07:35 PM

  4. Hopefully, when they rebuild they won't use titanium covered cardboard again.

    Posted by: kansastock | Feb 10, 2009 2:40:37 PM

  5. A major high-rise building is at it;s most vulnerable to fire just before completion. By that point in construction lot's of combustible materials have been installed, but the sprinklers and fire-alarm systems usally aren't yet operational. Until the building's mostly-finished, weather-sealed and heated you can't fill nor arm the fire-sprinklers' water-filled piping and standpipies...especially in a cold locale like Winter-time Beijing.

    Posted by: Ted B (Charging Rhino) | Feb 10, 2009 3:26:30 PM

  6. Did the employee get to keep his job?....

    Posted by: G | Feb 10, 2009 5:12:59 PM

  7. Did the employee get to keep his job?....

    Posted by: G | Feb 10, 2009 5:14:38 PM

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