Asia's Most Innovative Buildings
Asia wins innovation's wacky award time and again with their creative, yet impractical, architectural monstrosities.
You may have heard of Taipei 101, residing in Taiwan and known as the world’s tallest building. But did you know the architectural kooks of Asia never rest when it comes to designing the world’s strangest, albeit innovative, buildings?
Check out the Ryugyong Hotel in Korea if you are searching for a good example of Asia’s eclectic design. A huge, incomplete pyramid greets you as you walk up to the front doors. Construction began in 1987, and the project was abandoned in 1992. Some say it is because of a lack of funding, but rumors have circulated it had much more to do with the amount of low-quality, faulty concrete used in its preliminary construction.
Today the building is famous for its construction site ghost town, as the windowless, fixtureless, forever incomplete hotel has been added to local currency and maps even though it is never expected to be a functioning business or residence. However one must admit it took a truly innovative mind to conceive the idea of a 3,000 room hotel for North Korea – a nation that limits its tourism and visitors more tightly than almost any other nation on earth. Go figure.
If you are looking for further amusement, check out the currently underconstruction National Grand Theater in Beijing. Also known as “the egg”, the Grand will be open and functioning in time for the 2008 Olympics. So what’s weird about it? With it’s opera house logistics, the enclosure is semi-transparent, shaped like (you guessed it!) an egg, and will give guests a feel as if they are floating above a lake. Designed by the French, the local Chinese despise the building, however construction is still going strong so Olympic visitors can experience one of Asia’s architectural oddities in less than a year.
Trailing behind Beijing’s dysfunctional theatre is the Oriental Pearl tower in Shanghai. Completed over a decade ago, the cringe-worthy design continues to dominate Shanghai’s night sky. It was originally supposed to look like various sized pearls dropping toward a jade plate (read – the river below), however most locals agree it looks instead like a giant, illuminated syringe after dark.
A final innovative building credited to Asian culture is an airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Ignorning the local’s nickname for the region – the “cobra swamp” – Suvarnabhumi Airport opened late last month with its neon lights and glass walls.
Unfortunately it contains a cracked tarmac and an incessant amount of robberies on its grounds. It is also famous for its distinct lack of bathrooms. The new airport is such a disaster, Thai officials are now confessing to the media that opening the old airport is their only option to keep up with customers and flight service. With the world’s largest control tower but some of the most ramshackle landing strips on the planet, you can’t help but wonder what it is Thailand was attempting to compensate for.