Tuesday, August 05, 2008

China's Olympic Stadium (yuck!)

So, the NYT just published their architectural review of the Beijing Olympic Stadium. It's a glowing review.

Many of you have already seen the stadium, and surely anyone who watches the Opening Ceremonies this week will see it as well. It is nicknamed the "Bird's Nest" for the threads of steel that compose the outside of the stadium.

The Chinese are very, very proud of the stadium, and see it as a symbol of their nations' progress. There is also symbolism at play, as the stadium design echoes a Chinese delicacy, Bird's Nest Soup. (I guess the American parallel would be an arena shaped like a Krispy-Kreme donut, or perhaps a stadium resembling a Papa John's Pizza.)

I'm not an architecture critic, nor Chinese, but having seen the stadium up-close, I gotta say that the stadium is waaay oversold. It is, in fact, ugly, unless you find a pile of paperclips sexy, or think that wax drippings are cool. When I saw the Stadium, I had to ask if it was complete. When told yes, I had to process the fact that the Stadium was actually built according to plan, and that, amazingly, someone actually authorized it.

In my case, I had to process all of this while standing in the break-down lane of a Beijing highway. My guide on the way back from the Great Wall had offered to stop by the Stadium on the way back to Beijing. I enthusiastically accepted, but didn't realize until too late that their version of "stop by" meant pulling over on the highway, with cars whizzing past inches away.

Still, I managed to take a few shots, including this one.

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous