Modern Chinese Architecture

On July 22, 2011, in Beijing, Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

China – a land where new is constantly meeting and merging with old. Nowhere is this more evident than in Chinese architecture. Humble hutong homes, grandiose gates, tremendous temples, and picturesque palaces often sit only a few minutes away from, if not right next to, soaring skyscrapers and seemingly impossible-to-construct masterpieces of architecture. Witness these works of art for yourself – fly to China with China Flights and take a tour with China Tours today!

Here is a sampling of Chinese architectural masterpieces:

Central Chinese Television (CCTV) Towers, Beijing

The CCTV Tower’s design is so novel that it required approval by a special review panel. The two leaning towers of the building connect at the top and bottom at 90-degree angles to form a continuous loop.

Beijing International Airport, Beijing

Covering more than 1 million square meters, the vast Beijing Airport is housed under a single roof. Passengers of up to 43 million a year are guided through the terminals with the aid of colored skylights. The building also boasts environmental control systems to reduce its carbon footprint.

Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai

The architects of this 101-story skyscraper had one major issue on their minds when designing the Shanghai World Financial Center – wind pressure. To alleviate the problem, they added a rectangular cut-out at the top of the building to reduce the building’s sway and double as the world’s highest outdoor observation deck.

National Swimming Center (Water Cube), Beijing

The Water Cube is made of lightweight Teflon panels, the panels’ shapes modeled off of research into the structure of soap bubbles by Dublin’s Trinity College. The structure is thoroughly energy-efficient, the swimming pools being heated by solar energy and reusing old pool water that is usually simply discarded.

Olympic Stadium (Bird’s Nest), Beijing

The iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium is a novel take on the traditional sports-arena layout. Each unit of this “eco-friendly” stadium is an independent facility, making it possible to encase the entire complex with an open grid for natural air circulation. A layer of translucent membrane fills any gaps in the lacy exterior.

Linked Hybrid, Beijing

Housing 2,500 people in 700 apartments covering 1.6 million square feet, this site features one of the world’s largest geothermal cooling and heating systems. The innovative water-circulation system eliminates the need for boilers to supply heat and electric air conditioners to supply cool air – water flows through all of the buildings, serving as a giant radiator in the winter and cooling system in the summer. Each of the eight buildings is connected at the 20th floor by a “ring” of service establishments (cafes, dry cleaners, etc.).

Donghai Bridge, Shanghai/Yangshan Island

20-mile, six-lane Donghai Bridge stretches across the East China Sea to connect Shanghai with Yangshan Island. This S-shaped cable-stay structure is not open to private vehicles, but those wishing to traverse it may take a public bus across.

National Grand Theater, Beijing

This 485 square-foot theater made of glass and titanium appears to float above a man-made lake. The public nature of the building is realized through the semi-transparent skin of the building, giving passerbys a peek at any performance taking place inside one of the three auditoriums.

Impressed? Seeing as most of these architectural marvels are located in Beijing, check out Beijing Tours and see these masterpieces for yourself!


Jack Li
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