Beijing’s CCTV Towers March Upwards…and Sideways

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A quick snap of Beijing early this morning, an unusually bright and clear early Autumn day. The boring but conspicuous monolith on the right is the new China World Tower, which when completed will be the highest building in the capital but otherwise doesn’t have much to recommend it architecturally. The two drunken looking structures further to the left are the towers of the CCTV building designed by Rem Khoolhaas. It’s hard to tell from these shots but the structure is already mind-bending even though it is still many months away from completion. Personally I can’t wait to see the finished product, a kind of modern take on the leaning Tower of Pisa. The effect is wonderfully disorienting and many people’s first reaction is to bend their heads sideways as though it must be their perspective that’s off kilter, not the buildings themselves. Actually, in this case a picture really is worth much more than description so here is one. (The two towers will be connected across the top. For an artist’s rendition of the completed structure, see here.) that gives an idea of what I’m talking about. Is that seriously cool or what?

FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images