Did Rem Koolhaas Design the CCTV Tower to ‘Humiliate the Chinese’?


Late last week, you’ll recall that we, followed by everyone else on the planet, talked about David Pierson‘s IKEA-in-China piece. Now we start out morning returning to the country with this bit of interesting found by way of Archinect. Story goes is that a book/magazine called Content was recently published in Beijing whose central thesis is that Rem KoolhaasCCTV Tower was created as “a sexual symbol” in order to “humiliate the Chinese.” We’ve all been familiar with the nickname the country gave Koolhaas’ massive structure, “the underpants,” but hadn’t know, until now, that there was any sort of serious hatred toward the building (outside of nearby residents being upset after receiving notice that they were going to be removed for its building and expansion). But apparently so, as a recent survey found that nearly 50 percent of those polled “belive there were pornographic incentives in the design of the CCTV building and ‘felt very angry.'” Admittedly, there’s a batch of cultural interference standing between us and the Chinese, so we don’t fully understand why people think Koolhaas wanted to humiliate the country or how he managed to do it via the government-run television network (also, the aforementioned book, Content, which spilled the beans on the starchitect’s nefarious intentions, doesn’t really seem to do much other than slap nude photographs on top of the building, which isn’t all that convincing), but it certainly feels something like a resistance to modernism and foreign involvement approached in some abstract form. So we’ll just leave it as an interesting piece of interesting, all the while enjoying quotes like this that we also don’t understand but really like as a soundbite:

Xiao Mo, a well-known architect believes that the new CCTV building has become a landmark in Beijing and must endure the test of time.

“If Koolhaas wants to humiliate China, he is humiliating himself.”