24 September 2010

Ming tombs + Great wall

Today we took a day trip to the outskirts of the city of Beijing to see the famed Ming Tombs and the Great Wall of China. 

Here's a few photos from the two world heritage sites, starting with the Ming tombs :

The Ming tombs is a huge site where 13 Ming Dynasty Emperors were buried in their individual complexes with elaborate pavilions and gardens.
The sequence of spaces/gardens reminded me a lot of the Mughal tomb complexes found in the Indian sun-continent.

Moving on further - here's some photos from the Great Wall 
(this is the Badaling section of the Wall)

The way in which this massive stone wall snakes along the contours of this beautiful landscape is really impressive.

As you can imagine the wall being one of the most popular destination for both local and foreign tourists was super crowded and I had to spend a lot of time and effort in trying to capture these photos that make them look almost empty :-)

23 September 2010

Contemporary architecture in Beijing

In this post I'd like to share photos of the contemporary buildings that we saw over the last two days across the city.

Starting with the impressive Beijing Urban Planning Museum.
Ever since it opened this museum has become the starting point for all architects/city planners who visit this city.

Zooming in on the new CBD of Beijing

The CCTV HQ designed by OMA, sadly this buildings isn't really open to the public! Would have been interesting to see if there more to it that its wacky outer form. 
The main stadium of the 2008 Beijing Olympics - popularly known as the Bird's nest - is one of most known icons of the 21st century. It was designed by Swiss firm Herzog de Meuron in collaboration with artist Ai WeiWei.
It is a befitting design for the larger than life event that was the Olympics.
The transition spaces between the large Olympic park and the actual games arena is very interesting.
View of the different stadiums from the Olympic park
The Watercube designed by PTW architects is too kitsch for my liking and lack are architectural merit from the inside.

Here's a snap from inside the cube .
Digital Beijing at the edge of the Olympic park designed by Studio Pei-Zhu
The Linked hybrid designed by Steven Holl
Although this is one of Holl's most celebrated projects, I think he really struggles to do anything meaningful at these large scale projects!
There are some interesting ideas here but the overall project is not as interesting as the concept.
Some new office towers
And I end this post with this photo of the Sanlitun Village designed by the Oval Partnership. This is a very interesting shopping complex that takes inspiration from the scale and relationship seen in the traditional Hutongs of Beijing.

22 September 2010

Old Beijing

This post will focus on the older parts of the Chinese capital.
Starting with the Hutong where we are staying while here -

A couple of snaps of the Cow street mosque - built in the language of the traditional Chinese architecture
The temple of Heaven
The Drum tower
The Beijing Clock tower
The square between the Drum and Clock tower
A few photos from the huge Summer Palace and Gardens
A view of the Jingshan Park from the forbidden city
Entering the Forbidden city
A few photos from inside the amazing Forbidden city
Exiting the Forbidden city in Tian'anmen square
The Tian'anmen square by night
The super long line outside the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
And last but not the least the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall itself..
Guarding the Chairman Mao

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