北京 Běijīng

2016 inaugural post- best wishes for the new Gregorian year!

 

Random Běijīng

In light of Běijīng’s worsening pollution issues and looking back at these photos, I realize how ridiculously lucky I was: the capital supposedly gets less than 2 weeks worth of blue skies a year but I had an entire week of smog-free weather. Despite the city’s convenient and cheap subway system, I ended up walking between a lot of sights. During these explorations the horizontal influence of the siheyuan  四合院 and hutong 胡同 typologies surprised me. Běijīng is the 8th most populated city in the world! But after seeing neighborhood after neighborhood of 2 story structures, I wouldn’t have guessed.

 

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鼓楼 Drum Tower

Due to their chunky masses, simplicity of function, and the history implicit in their placement, the Drum Tower and Bell Tower were my favorite architectural sights in Běijīng. The Drum tower was originally built in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Khan, at that point it would’ve dominated the city’s ancient skyline. Below: time keeping incense!

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钟楼 Bell Tower

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大裤衩 CCTV Headquarters

At RISD when I began studying modern Chinese architecture in earnest, Koolhaas’ CCTV tower quickly became a focus. Breaking ground in June 2004, with a completed facade in January 2008, and finished in May 2012, it is commonly grouped with the other Olympic national icons designed by western architects. The looped skyscraper’s huge scale, fenced off grounds, unfriendly security guards who told me I couldn’t enter, and pollution stained facade created an overall fortress effect for the state run China Central Television.

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