China’s Most Breathtaking Buildings

The influx of China’s population to urban areas (almost half of China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants are living in or around cities) along with its booming economy, has contributed to record levels of construction in recent years. It has been predicted that by 2025, China will be constructing cities, or expanding existing built-up areas to house a further 400 million people!

The rapid speed at which the world’s most populous nation is urbanising means that China’s skyline in a constant state of flux and China’s plethora of breath-taking buildings is multiplying.

From the World Financial Centre in Shanghai to the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, China houses some truly iconic structures, both modern and traditional, and any trip to China should include the old, with the new.

We’ve chosen our ‘Top Traditional, Modern and Unusual Buildings in Beijing’ that you should add to your ‘to-do’ list when visiting China:

Traditional – The Forbidden City, Beijing

Also known as the Palace Museum, The Forbidden City is located in the centre of Beijing and uses the principles of tradition Chinese architecture.

Construction began between 1406 and 1420 during the Ming Dynasty and since has been the imperial palace of 24 emperors from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and from the palace they governed the country, issuing imperial edicts and initiating military missions.

The Forbidden City is one of the largest and best-preserved palace complexes in the world and since 1950 has been a museum open to the public.

Modern – China Central Television Headquarters, Beijing

A reinvention of the typical skyscraper, boasting a highly unusual ‘three-dimensional cranked loop’ shape the CCTV headquarters was designed by OMA and opened its doors to television broadcasting in Beijing in 2008.

Rising from a common platform, two leaning towers rise and interconnect with a 75 foot central perpendicular extension, seemingly defying gravity.

Unusual – Liyuan Library, Jiaojiehe village of Huairou, Beijing

In contrast to the pre-existing traditional structures and ultra-modern sky scrapers, some more unusual constructions are being designed in China.

On the outskirt of Beijing, villagers of Huairou can escape to the Liyuan Library in the mountains nearby to find tranquillity.

Designed by Professor Li Xiaodong from the School of Architecture of Tsinghua University, a total of 45,000 firewood sticks have been used to cover a glass structure. The wooden sticks temper the bright light and spread it evenly throughout the space to provide a perfect reading ambience.

Neil Bridger is a travel writer who has travelled all across Asia and the Pacific, and is a big fan of luxury cruise travel.

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