Naming the CCTV Tower (or Why “Big Underpants” is Better Than “Hemorrhoids”) (Updated)

CCTV's new tower (Getty Images)

With all the building going on in Beijing, the CCTV (China Central Television) station also has a new structure and a new nickname to go with it. Time’s The China Blog reports:

Names, especially nicknames, pet names and the like, can be incredibly literal things in China. If you are fat, there’s a good chance people will call you “fatty.” If you have a big beard, people will call you “big beard.”

The same goes for iconic structures. The Great Wall (or literally, the “long wall”) doesn’t leave a lot of doubt as to what it is. Many of the famous new buildings that have gone up in Beijing recently have been given their own tags by the people. The National Center for the Performing Arts is known as the “Duck Egg.” The National Stadium is known as the “Bird’s Nest.” They’re both humble yet fitting names for these grand edifices.

The people at China Central Television are apparently not so happy with the public’s nickname for their gleaming new headquarters. The building, which was designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, consists of two slanting towers that are joined by sections on the ground and two horizontal sections at the top to form a continuous loop. It is an architectural and engineering marvel. To the people of Beijing it is simply, “Big Underpants.”

The name has yet to permanently stick. See the Top Ten Great Buildings on People’s Daily for more structures and their nicknames.

Update: One blogger’s creative interpretation of the CCTV building is here.

Update 2: Danwei also translated a post from Shanghai Times (申江服务导报) via Xinmin Evening News originally from this blogger.

November 27, 2008 11:32 AM
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