OMA in Beijing: The Chinese Central Television Headquarters

MoMA | 2006



OMA in Beijing was curated by Tina DiCarlo and designed by OMA. OMA proposed three schemes for the exhibition, one of which was a 1:1 reproduction of CCTV's lilting diagrid that would cut through the atrium through to the lobby level of Taniguchi design.

The TVCC model was built specifically for the exhibition and was acquired into the collection as part of an archive on that was established on the CCTV-TVCC project. Its scale and detail could have only been produced in China. The model now stands as the most accurate chronicle of the TVCC building after it horrifically caught fire in December 2008.


Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren lead the design for OMA’s China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters, a project that combines over six million square feet of program on a twenty-hectare site in Beijing's Central Business District (CBD). The program comprises television making, public facilities, and services spread throughout three structures: CCTV, the Television Cultural Center (TVCC), and a service building.

As a social construct the project represents a unique convergence of political, social, and technological developments: the rapid urbanization of China, the unprecedented merging of a market economy with a socialist state, the rethinking of the tall-building type, and advances in computer-aided design and engineering that make a structure of this scale and complexity possible. Mirroring CCTV’s original headquarters across Beijing’s east-west axis and situated along the city’s third ring road, the complex will become the icon of a new China and of Beijing’s new center. It will be completed for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. TVCC will host all broadcasting and news activities for the games. OMA in Beijing provides an update and in-depth look into the project since it broke ground in September 2004. The project’s richness and complexity is examined through ten themes, pairing specific elements of the architecture to qualities of Beijing to revealing its implicit urbanity. Eight historical works from MoMA’s collection are invoked to demonstrate CCTVs relevance to key visionary movements within modernism, from Superstudio and Kiso Kurokawa’s megastructures of the late 1960s, to Buckminster Fuller’s use of a triangulated structures, to the first glass skscraper by Mies van der Rohe.

The exhibition is part of an ongoing series of in-depth looks at a singe contemporary architecture project of local and international interest. These projects, under construction at the time of exhibition, are some of the most innovative and visionary within contemporary architecture.

Work: Curating