Koolhaas’ Burnt Mandarin Hotel Might Still Be Salvageable

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By Steve Delahoyde Comment

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Despite the hopefully-misguided beliefs of apparently a lot of people in China that starchitect Rem Koolhaas wants nothing more than to mock them with his buildings’ designs, there’s some positive news coming from the neighbor to his “controversial” CCTV Tower, the badly charred Mandarin Oriental hotel he also designed. It was one of the big architecture tragedies at the start of this year, when an errant firework found its way inside the building, setting it totally ablaze almost instantly, taking with it a firefighter’s life and nearly $800 million poured into the about-to-open project (here’s our report on personally seeing the damage up close back in May). But now Koolhaas’ firm, Office for Metropolitan Architecture, has been back to the scene and have announced that despite its utterly-apocalyptic appearance, the building still seems structurally sound and that the damage might all be fixable. OMA hasn’t said that they will for sure be working to rebuild, plans to move forward do seem likely, and that means that maybe the worst option has been diverted, that the Mandarin would have to be demolished completely.

“The preliminary findings are that the building can be repaired,” said architect Ole Scheeren, the building project’s leader. “It’s still intact and safe. There will mainly be a repair effort, but not a complete rebuilding.”

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