Feb 9, 09 10:09 am
Living in Gin

Is this being covered by any English-language news sources yet?

Feb 9, 09 10:13 am
not per--corell

as eddie murphy would say: 'now that's a fah!'

Feb 9, 09 10:13 am
Living in Gin

I'm familiar with Rem's CCTV building in Beijing... Is TVCC the same thing, or is this a different structure?

Feb 9, 09 10:17 am
Living in Gin

ok... Just read the Reuters report. Thanks.

Feb 9, 09 10:18 am

TVCC is the building next to it, also by Rem, with the congress facilities...

Feb 9, 09 10:21 am
Feb 9, 09 10:25 am
Living in Gin

Any word on injuries? Given that it's apparently the middle of the night over there, hopefully the building is mostly unoccupied.

Good riddance to shoddy crap designed by puffed-up celebrity starchitects... Hopefully this will be remembered as the Pruitt Igoe of this generation.

Feb 9, 09 10:34 am

20 minutes?! fire spread in 20 minutes??! WTMF?

Feb 9, 09 10:43 am

the building is/was still under construction, right? so no life-safety or emergency systems in place and probably not 'closed up', no separations maintained, etc.

Feb 9, 09 10:45 am

pruitt-igoe was taken down intentionally, having largely been considered a failure. i hope they can afford to correct any damage here because, of the two structures - i thought tvcc was the more graceful. i doubt shoddy construction was at fault.

Feb 9, 09 10:49 am

Interview with Rem on dutch newsradio:
* no injured (yet)
* building was about to open in march
* sprinklers were not activated
* (possible) cause: fireworks (final day of the Lunar New Year)
* took chinese firemen a long time to reach the building (holidays)
* rem assumes that the building is ruined

Feb 9, 09 10:49 am

Geez, Gin. Really? Good Riddance? Yikes.

Feb 9, 09 10:49 am
NYT link
Feb 9, 09 10:52 am
liberty bell

I agree with Steven, TVCC is the more subtle therefore more interesting structure, in my opinion.

You can hear the fireworks going off in the videos, I wouldn't be surprised if that is what started a fire.

Feb 9, 09 10:52 am
Living in Gin

Sorry... I'm in a pissy mood. But right now I have far more sympathy for the residents of southeast Australia than I do for the owners of a luxury hotel in a corrupt dictatorship.

NY Times article

Feb 9, 09 10:55 am

Jesus LiG! Despite one's leanings towards how crappy the building is this is terrible news.

Feb 9, 09 10:56 am

I've heard of architects being sued - and losing big time - because sprinklers and life safety devices weren't activated during construction. There is a provision in the "Safeguards During Construction" chapter that requires life safety devices to be brought online at the earliest practicable time, IIRC. That's where they were nailed in court since that info was not in the spec or code summary.

Feb 9, 09 11:02 am

Also from what i understand, crews were working 24 shifts on that site, it would be a real disaster if anybody was stuck in there during that fire.

Feb 9, 09 11:05 am
Living in Gin

How does a supposedly state-of-the-art building like this become totally engulfed in 20 minutes??? Even if still under construction, there should have been some basic fire safety measures in place. Fuck, even 7 WTC took all day to burn, and it had been doused in jet fuel.

The article states that the hotel was slated to open later this year, so the structural was presumably substantially complete. Things like fireproofing and fire separations should have already been in place. It will be interesting to see what the investigation reveals, assuming the results are made public. Maybe the builders should have spent a little less money on the Rem Koolhaas™ fashion label and a little more money on some basic fire safety provisions. Perhaps we can be thankful that the fire happened now, and not when the building was filled with overnight guests.

Feb 9, 09 11:11 am

Wow, LiG, so you're the Beijing Fire Marshall? And your investigation's already complete? Should we sentence Rem or just throw him to the angry mobs?

Feb 9, 09 11:17 am

We all know that with the governments control of the country's media that the true cause of the fire will never become public especially to the rest of the world.

As for the punishment...I say burning at the stake...make the punishment fit the crime.

Feb 9, 09 11:27 am
Living in Gin

No, I'm not the fire marshall, but I'm capable of making inferences based on information given in the news articles and my own professional knowledge about how buildings burn.

My anger isn't directed at Rem, but at the people who hired him (presumably CCTV, which is an entity of the Chinese government). They're like the nouveau riche parents who build a flashy McMansion so they can show their newfound wealth off to the neighbors, while their children still live in squalor without adequate nutrition and healthcare. Now the Hummer in the driveway is up in flames, and I have a hard time being very sympathetic.

Feb 9, 09 11:29 am

LiG, most, excuse me, all governments are like that.

Feb 9, 09 11:31 am

My point is: why get angry in the first place? Maybe the thing was wired? Maybe somebody blew it up on purpose? Maybe there was a really catastrophic fireworks accident on multiple floors? Who the f*ck knows? It only started two hours ago!

To say the building is burning because famous architects suck is pretty specious.

Feb 9, 09 11:34 am

"We all know that with the governments control of the country's media that the true cause of the fire will never become public especially to the rest of the world."

hey abc... are you talking about the WTC or TVCC?

Feb 9, 09 11:43 am

Apparently (from twitter source), the people responsible - presumably those organising the fireworks - were reluctant to call the fire brigade and notified the senior CCTV bosses by text first. Presumably they wasted no time in doing the right thing and calling for help.

Interesting aside about the regs. I was just wondering about that...Perhaps this will cause some ammendments requiring sprinkler service throughout any part of sire with construction. Surely the construction phase is when risk of fire is at its greatest?

I have to say though, neither of these buildings really struck me as subtle, but tvcc always was the more ugly for me.

Feb 9, 09 12:00 pm
brian buchalski

towering inferno! where are steve mcqueen & paul newman when you really need them?

Feb 9, 09 12:47 pm
brian buchalski

actually...don't answer that. i know that they are both already dead. sorry.

Feb 9, 09 12:49 pm
liberty bell

In case no one here saw it, the comments in the News section include some links to more images and video.

Awesome, in the sublime sense of that word. I feel for OMA today, they must be in shock. I wonder how an event like this affects an architect's thinking about their own work? I've never seen anything I've built destroyed, except exhibit designs that were temporary anyway.

Feb 9, 09 1:27 pm
Marc Pittsley

A former boss once said to me:

"if you could only live long enough, you'd see every last one of your works destroyed."

Kind of banal and obvious in its truth, but it was still shocking to me to hear it said, given how we so strive to achieve permanence.

Feb 9, 09 1:32 pm

How would steel and glass burn like that? Very strange...

Feb 9, 09 1:32 pm
Marc Pittsley

And obviously, especially shocking when the project is not yet even complete.

Feb 9, 09 1:33 pm

It is an economic tragedy, and hopefully only that. But shit looks awesome on fire!

Feb 9, 09 1:34 pm

this marks the end of ego driven starchitecture! long live green buildings!

Feb 9, 09 1:37 pm

i don't understand why any architect in the current age actually aims for permanence given the transient nature of most developed-nature populations. Hell, in the US people change jobs every 5 years or so, and most move for every single one.

Legacy is dead!

Feb 9, 09 1:38 pm
liberty bell

Right, Marc. My old boss always spoke (elegantly) of how are work is just part of a continuum. I actually prefer thinking of it that way. Of course, one hopes that the changes will be brought about by people who like your building enough to want to make it more relevant to their lives, rather than by sudden and unexpected disaster.

Feb 9, 09 1:43 pm
liberty bell

Jeeeeez...excuse me, how "our" work is part of a continuum...

Feb 9, 09 1:47 pm

This has Howard Roark written all over it.

Feb 9, 09 2:12 pm

Pictures from construction of TVCC:

There are huge rubber sheets running down the entire walls of the building in the latticework which supports the outer metal shell. No firestoppers anywhere from the top of the walls at the roof, all the way to the ground.

Seems a firework got in from the top or somewhere, set the rubber on fire which then burned up and down inside the walls from the roof to the ground. A 30 floor chimney effect, with all that rubber on fire at once, un-firestopped from top to bottom, would be a spectacular fire, and impossible to put out as well as its within the outer walls. It would also have spread extremely fast from top to bottom of the structure.

Not sure if it is a design mistake or a construction mistake, but this disaster was just waiting to happen..

Feb 9, 09 2:15 pm
liberty bell

Wow, thanks for that berebei - those images and your description seem to explain a lot!

Feb 9, 09 2:32 pm

Monstrous fire. What saddens me is trying to fathom how many resources were wasted in the construction of the building and then in the subsequent loss by fire. I guess I'm glad it's not the other one though....since that one uses about twice as much material.

Feb 9, 09 2:36 pm

berebei, that's an excellent and scary explanation

Feb 9, 09 4:09 pm

guess they didnt research rubber correctly..... good job guys... everyone knows that rubber is flammable...

Feb 9, 09 4:42 pm

berebei, checked the links you posted. It is a stupid detail design of the TVCC exterior wall - metal panels covered rubber water proofing membranes. And the scary thing is that it is hollow in the metal shell - the architect seems want to keep some thickness for the architectural expression. This is the exterior "chimney" - no fire stoppers neither.

And I don't understand the diamond grid of the CCTV tower exterior wall. Everyone knows that it is great to integrate structural aspect into design. But it seems the diagonal components are NOT structural - they are some channel like panels covered the structural members. This is not a good detail design I like neither. It is FAKE and superficial. And, I can not see anything related to fire stoppers in the CCTV curtain wall according to the photos you linked above.

Above are the technical aspects. Below are my personal feelings.

I am disappointed that this happened to Rem. It seems he produced a great image, but not a great building, neither great architecture. Great architects should pay great attention to peoples safety and balance issues whatever you need to deal with. And fire proofing is one of the most basic issues. You can not lose scores on this.

Maybe Ole Scheeren is too young to be the chief for this huge project. Even you are talent, you need a long way to learn to be a mature architect. There is no short cut.

Feb 9, 09 5:23 pm

burning hotel-man?

Its actually a gorgeous catastrophe.

Feb 9, 09 5:26 pm

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: