I am all for critics and theorists divining deeper social currents in the architecture we build. I am all for people bemoaning stalled projects as a symbol of a recession. Blimey, I don’t even mind it when people find a symbolism in the architecture we destroy.
But what makes absolutely no sense whatsoever is saying a fire is the sign of a greater economic malaise. (Now if it had been burned down by militant anti-capitalists there would be a significance. But it clearly wasn’t.) People who come up with this crap have spent too much time in front of a computer. The TVCC was not just about the production of an image, it was a building with a far more interesting story to it than the symbolic significance they’ve ascribed to it. The TVCC and the CCTV were built by Chinese State Television – a new, public access HQ and studio complex with an adjacent hotel and museum. Why does the destruction of the smaller part of it by fire symbolise the end of a capitalist led construction boom in the West?
Chinese construction may have slowed but give it 2 years. And the price of iron will be back near $100 a tonne and the medium sized towns of China will be experiencing the development boom that Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have.