Fire destroys part of Olympics TV icon in Beijing

February 16, 2009

CCTV, the Chinese state broadcast network, suffered a major fire in one section of its iconic headquarters last week. It occurred on the final night of celebrations marking the Lunar New Year and was caused by fireworks.

The fire struck not the main, torquing CCTV tower, but an adjacent shorter structure, in which a 241-room Mandarin Oriental Hotel was due to open later this year, the “Los Angeles Times” reported. The entire complex, still under construction, was designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

The building was featured heavily in television coverage of the Beijing Olympics last summer and ranked as one the most significant new pieces of architecture of the new century. The newspaper said the building relies on the shorter hotel tower, which is known as TVCC. It is the hotel that helps give the main tower its strange, shifting sense of scale.

Due to the structure’s unique status, predictions are that China will rebuild the structure immediately. “Even in a global slowdown — perhaps especially in one — construction in China can operate at lightning speed,” the “Times” reported.

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