Amidst all the oohs and aahs over Beijing’s buildings, architects are debating the moral implications of redefining the capital’s skyline. First, there’s this article in Business Week from Dorian Davis:
Earlier this year, during an urban development forum at a university in Belfast, Ireland, the New York-based architect Daniel Libeskind ruffled feathers when he admonished fellow architects not to accept commissions from China and other so-called repressive regimes. “I think architects should take a more moral stance,” he proclaimed. The Polish-born architect’s speech incited backlash from colleagues and charges of hypocrisy—some pointed to his Hong Kong project, the now-under-construction Creative Media Centre—but his remarks incited a question that can leave some architects feeling squeamish: Is it ethical to accept commissions from authoritarian governments with poor human rights records?
And previously, from Robin Pogrebin, in The New York Times:
One lightning rod in the debate is Rem Koolhaas’s mammoth headquarters for China’s state broadcast authority, CCTV, a minicity in itself in a capital where cranes dot the skylines and nearly every famous foreign architect has a project on the boards. Mr. Koolhaas suggested at the outset of the project, which he was assigned in 2002, that by the time his tower — a hulking hollowed-out trapezoid — was completed, China’s censorship of the airwaves might well have changed. (The building is almost finished.)
Also, in Foreign Policy: The Architecture of Autocracy