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Beijing Modern Architectures

Revolutionary and innovative architecture has redefined the historic city of Beijing in recent times. The CCTV Tower was considered a radical departure from the universal box-like buildings of the 20th Century and was a unique landmark of Beijing for many years; then the 2008 Olympic Games heralded a new age of vision and innovation. The world’s television audiences were stunned by the impressive images of modern Beijing. The most memorable structures were the Olympic stadiums, nicknamed “Bird Nest” and “Water Cube”. Their outstanding visual features are more than just window-dressing; they are full of hidden symbolism. In Chinese mythology, the sun is represented by a circle and the moon by a square, reflected by the shape of the bird's nest and the Water Cube aquatic centre opposite, reinforced when the venues are lit at night, red for the Bird's Nest and blue for the Water Cube. The forms also echo the Chinese symbols for male and female, and are built either side of the north-south axis road which runs in a perfect straight line for three miles through Beijing, centred on the Forbidden City. Another visually exciting site is the 798 Art Zone, or Dashanzi Art District, which houses a thriving artistic community, among 50-year old decommissioned military factory buildings of unique but functional Bauhaus-influenced architectural style. It is often compared with New York's Greenwich Village or SoHo.