Among the many striking architecture feats that Beijing has undertaken to project its step forward to the modern world, the CCTV Tower stands out among the rest of the progressive buildings. An article in the Herald Tribune suggests that it couldn’t have been built a couple of years ago due to the amount of computing behind the success of the structural components designed by star-architect Rem Koolhaas . For me the fascination of this building was piqued by an exhibit in a cozy room at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City back in 2006. Never in a million years did I think that I would see the building with my own eyes at the eve of its completion.
The MOMA’s exhibit had the small room’s four walls covered in computerized images of what the structure would look like with facts and insights spread throughout the floor-to-ceiling layouts. There were images of the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Sears Tower and the Burj Tower in Dubai to illustrate the structure’s scale. At the time, it seemed like a foreign concept, light-years away from my realm of existence, and yet, its alien-like appearance still seems foreign among Beijing’s bustling cityscape. With its twisted square shape and sheer size, one can’t help but be swept over with wonderment on its reflection of progress for the modern world, on human achievements, and of China harnessing such a progressive building in its capital.
The first time I saw it in Beijing, was from a bus window on my China-approved tour on the way to a Peking Duck restaurant. Being dwarfed in comparison to its epic size, the CCTV Tower is impressive beyond measure. As it quickly came into view from the highway, and just as quickly left, I sat in disbelief that I had just seen one of the new wonders of the world and what MOMA described as “one of the most visionary undertakings in the history of modern architecture.”