CCTV Building

sights / Architecture

CCTV Building information

Běijīng , China
32 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu
Getting there
Subway: Jintaixizhao
Something wrong?
Submit a correction

Shaped like an enormous pair of trousers, and known locally as Dà Kùchǎ (大裤衩), or Big Underpants, the astonishing CCTV Tower is an architect’s wet dream. Its overhang (the bum in the pants) seems to defy gravity and is made possible by an unusual engineering design which creates a three-dimensional cranked loop, supported by an irregular grid on its surface. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren of OMA, the building is an audacious statement of modernity (despite its nickname) and is a unique addition to the Běijīng skyline. In February 2008, stray fireworks from CCTV’s own Lantern Festival fireworks display sent the costly Television Cultural Center in the north of the complex up in flames, burning for five hours with spectacular ferocity. CCTV famously censored its own reporting of the huge conflagration (Běijīng netizens dryly noting that CCTV created one of the year’s biggest stories only to not cover it). Along with the Běijīng Mandarin Oriental, a visitor’s centre and theatre were also destroyed in the blaze. Big Underpants escaped unsinged. Gardens around the complex were being landscaped at the time of research so by the time you read this you should be able to wander beneath the underbelly of this exceptional structure.