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Chinese call OMA’s radical office tower design Big Shorts

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BEIJING – The Chinese capital has a new, radically-shaped landmark with a Dutch touch. Dubbed by the local population Big Shorts, grote onderbroek, the headquarters of China Central Television, is a skyscraper in the Beijing central business district.

Completed in December, the landmark was designed by architects Rem Koolhaas (64) and Ole Scheeren of Rotterdam-based OMA while Arup of London provided the complex engineering design. The building is 234 metres (768 ft) tall and has 51 floors.

The main building is anything but a traditional tower, and has a continuous loop of five horizontal and vertical sections covering 4,100,000 square feet (381,000 square metres) of floor space, creating an irregular grid on the building’s facade with an open centre. A structural challenge, the construction of the building was further complicated because it is located in a seismic zone.

A second building, the Television Cultural Center, includes a hotel, a visitor's center, a large public theatre, and exhibition space. It is visible from the main intersection of Beijing’s new central business district through the window of the main CCTV headquarters building. A media park forms a landscape of public entertainment, outdoor filming areas, and production studios as an extension of the central green axis of the area.

The building was built in two sections that were joined to complete the loop in December 2007. In order to avoid locking in structural differentials this elevated connection was to take place during planned for the coldest time of night when the steel in the two towers cooled to the same temperature.

The CCTV tower is the first one of 35 towers planned for the business park.

Rem(ment) Koolhaas has been credited with over 25 international projects, usually with highly innovative and radical features.