Day 273/365 of Steel – Ole Scheeren

Ole Scheeren (born 6 January 1971) is a German architect, urbanist and principal of Büro Ole Scheeren Group. After working in Germany, New York and London, Ole Scheeren began his work at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in Rotterdam in 1995.

China Central Television Headquarters (CCTV)
Fig 1: China Central Television Headquarters (CCTV)
Photo: Dayton12345

In 2002 he became Partner and Director of the offices in Beijing and Hong Kong. As Partner-in-charge of OMA’s largest project to date, he successfully led the realization of the China Central Television Station (CCTV) in Beijing.

The CCTV Headquarters were feted by architecture critics as perhaps “the greatest work of architecture built in this century” and awarded the 2013 Best Tall Building Worldwide from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. OMA were the architects in charge for the building, while Cecil Balmond at Arup provided the complex engineering design.

China Central Television Headquarters (CCTV) During Construction
Fig 2: China Central Television Headquarters (CCTV) During Construction
Photo: Jakob Montrasio

The main building is not a traditional tower, but a loop of six horizontal and vertical sections covering 473,000 m2 of floor space, creating an irregular grid on the building’s façade with an open center. To resist the huge forces generated by two towers, each sloping six degrees in two directions, as well as significant potential seismic and wind events,

Arup devised a scheme that turns the entire exterior into a continuous structural tube. This system is formed by a web of diagonal steel braces that expresses the pattern of forces acting on the building and serves as an important visual element on all of the facades. Where structural forces are greater, the web of braces is denser; where the forces are less intense, the web is looser.

China Central Television Headquarters (CCTV)
Fig 3: China Central Television Headquarters (CCTV)
Photo: Dmitry Fironov

An engineering marvel, CCTV flaunts its technological prowess in its radical geometry and exposed steel bracing. And its most daring structural element is the ‘overhang,’ a nine-to-13-story bridge that makes a right turn in midair as it spans the gap between the two angled towers. 

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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