China's National Aquatics Center and National Stadium illuminated by fireworks during Friday night's opening ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Associated Press/Color China Photo. Below, the proposed design of the CenterPointe project in Lexington.
We've been treated to a lot of stunning images from Beijing over the weekend with the opening of the Olympic Games, including the exquisite opening ceremonies and the astonishing victory by the United States' men in the 400-meter relay, which I am so glad I stayed up to see last night.
Some of the most striking images we have been treated to over and over are new structures, built specifically for the games.
The National Stadium, aka the Bird's Nest, and the National Aquatics Center, aka the Water Cube, are the two structures we are seeing the most, and like most exceptional architecture, they never fail to fascinate.
The New York Times has a great interactive graphic showing some of the thought processes behind these structures as well as the new facility for China's state television network, the National Theater, and Airport Terminal. It's interesting to note the care that went into both tailoring these facilities to their purposes and making them visually stunning.
It's something for Lexington to contemplate as we discuss adding a new signature building to our skyline. While the primary argument about the downtown CentrePointe development has been the demolition of what some regard as historic properties, there's also been a lot of discussion about the design of the proposed new structure -- a combination of a four-star hotel, luxury condominiums, and shops -- and what it will add or detract from Lexington's skyline. A July 22 Herald-Leader story offered up a trio of alternative designs from three teams invited by the University of Kentucky College of Design. They generally went over like a lead balloon with our readers.
But those ideas, as well as designs that can be seen in cities as close as Cincinnati, and the images we're seeing from China should prompt us and even CentrePointe's developers to think. The National Stadium and Aquatics Center, even that crazy state television building, will become signatures of Beijing's skyline, structures that will become synonymous with the city in years to come.
Here in Lexington, we of course have our postcard-perfect countryside. But what are and will be our urban signatures? What do we want them to say about us? And should we think about them a little bit more?