Gallery: Building Beijing's Miraculous CCTV Headquarters Tower

Better buildings through geometry

CCTV Headquarters Tower Image 1

CCTV's new headquarters in Beijing wears its engineering on its sleeve. So complex is this 768-foot-tall anti-skyscrabper that the architects, the Netherlands-based Office of Metropolitan Architecture, chose to show off the structural seams for visual effect.

CCTV Headquarters Tower Image 2

The building is a continuous loop (resembling a twisted doughnut to some, "big shorts" to others), a shape that would normally be too stiff to stand up against the region's famously epic earthquakes.Picasa 2.6

CCTV Headquarters Tower Image 3

The solution: Engineers at Arup enclosed the more than five-million-square-foot building in a triangulated steel surface, formed what's called a diagrid, and optimized the pattern to meet structural demands.

CCTV Headquarters Tower Image 4

The triangles are dense in regions that bear heavy loads and spare where loads are light. This gives the building, whose interiors are now under construction, enough flexibility to survive the kind of ungodly tremors that occur once every 2,500 years.Picasa 2.6

CCTV Headquarters Tower Image 5

The CCTV Headquarters Tower under construction.

CCTV Headquarters Tower Image 6

Cranes sit atop the partially-completed CCTV Headquarters Tower.

CCTV Headquarters Tower Image 7

A close-up view of the Tower from below.