domingo, 23 de agosto de 2009

Uma piada à custa da China?

Party organ gives CCTV sex angle new legs

Raymond Li
South China Morning Post
August 22, 2009

Wags in Beijing long ago dubbed the new CCTV Tower the "trouser legs". Now they, and others, have realised the name may not be far wrong. And many don't like the idea that Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas may have pulled off a joke at China's expense.

The fuss was sparked this week when People's Daily picked up on the existence of a book, Content, published five years ago by Mr Koolhaas' studio, OMA, that likens the CCTV Tower and the 30-storey tower next to it to male and female genitalia. Persistent critics of the complex housing state television headquarters have been writing on the internet since 2005 claiming the architect may have intended the daring design to have such sexual connotations.

OMA may just have been having some fun. Mr Koolhaas has often spoken seriously about the China Central Television headquarters.

"We felt it was very important for an entity like CCTV to make its presence felt ... To generate a space and to define a space, that is the main thing," he told CNN. And in 2006 he told Germany's Der Spiegel: "Working on this project at this location and for these people gives the building a powerful sense of content and, as a result, a great deal of seriousness."

Still, angry internet critics are now asking whether China spent five years and billions of dollars on building a pornographic joke.

China Youth Daily tried to downplay the furore. Reproduction worship had been a tradition in China since ancient times, it said yesterday.

The elation with which many greeted the news in February that a fireworks party had sparked a fire that gutted the smaller tower on the site - meant for a Mandarin Oriental hotel - showed the extent of public discontent over the CCTV headquarters.

Xiao Mo, a retired architecture critic from the China Art Institute, is among detractors of the the tendency to build lavish projects that put artistic expression above all. In a June internet posting, he accused Mr Koolhaas of making fools of 1.3 billion Chinese and criticised the cost of fulfilling his artistic ambitions.

OMA press officer Bas Lagendijk said the CCTV design was not intended to offend. He said only two pages of Content referred to the buildings' design and the book had nothing to do with it or with CCTV.

Mr Koolhaas is a contender to design the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong.

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