| do we buy the businessweek proposition? what imagination
| connects exciting design propositions with spending on
| building construction industry? are the two linked?
| of course, we would like to believe this proposition.
| the cost of design is higher with these buildings.
| what do these buildings actually mean? we
| notice a consistent, sleek, 'hermetic' aesthetic about all of
| them. is there a new Chinese style? how is this aesthetic
| consistency brought about? is it centrally administered?

China's New Architectural Wonders
In our ongoing series on the world's most amazing buildings we look at
the unprecedented building boom in Beijing and beyond

When global audiences tune in to watch the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the
world's fastest and strongest athletes won't be alone in striving for
superlative achievements -- a new generation of innovative architecture
is rising in China. Fueled by a surging economy (the latest Chinese
census, released on Dec. 20, says the country's GDP is $1.93 trillion,
or 16.8% higher than previously measured), China will soon be home to
the world's largest airport, the world's first fully sustainable city,
and the world's highest outdoor observation deck, to name just a few of
its innovative architectural feats.

With spending on China's residential building construction growing at
7.1% annually and nonresidential construction activity increasing by
7.4% (according to Cleveland-based researchers the Freedonia Group), the
world's most populated country is experiencing a building boom of
unprecedented scale.

The phenomenon is reaching beyond Beijing and Shanghai. As The New York
Times recently reported, even the lesser-known northern city of Harbin
is remaking itself with a new urban center. Built from scratch, a
virtually instant skyline of residential and commercial skyscrapers is
starting to sprout within a 285-square-mile area.