Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rem's CCTV Towers Kiss

China's leaning towers face moment of truth
BEIJING (AFP) - Work on arguably the most radical office building on earth has reached a crucial point, with engineers ready to join the two leaning towers that will be the new home of China's state broadcaster.

model and diagram by Office of Metropolitan Architecture

Groping 70 metres (230 feet) into space, 160 metres above Beijing's Central Business District, two cantilevered arms have been slowly edging towards each other from the twin towers that lean over at a sharp angle. If weather conditions allow, the tricky manoeuvre will take place this week.

"It's the most interesting point in the whole process," said architect Ole Scheeren, the German partner in Rem Koolhaas's Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

Engineers have a one-hour window before dawn to complete the crucial task when the building will be least affected by temperature change. At any other time, imbalances caused by expansion of the steal beams through the heat of the sun would be locked into the complex structure forever.

The building is effectively a twisted tube - a loop folded in space, according to Scheeren - that forms the world's largest corporate headquarters and the second biggest office building in the world after the Pentagon.

Two angled towers reaching up into the skyline are joined at the top by a canopy that will eventually house 11 floors of offices, restaurants and public areas suspended over a void.

Just to intensify the sensation of "free-fall vertigo," glass flooring will be installed on the bottom floor of the overhang, said Scheeren.

[Story via Archinect]

All photos by Tom van Dillen. See his fantastic photo gallery here.

No comments: