Digital Beijing Controversy
This building – also known as “Digital Beijing” – is the only building on the Olympic Green Park that isn’t a sporting venue. Made of monolithic grey slabs, the centre can look austere in daylight but comes alive when the gash-like openings are illuminated at night. The main controversies surrounding the Digital Beijing building revolve around the architects - being the only local architects that were hired to design for the Olympic Green Park, the fear of security breaches into the networks and information systems of the Olympic games, and the advanced materiality incorporated within the design.
The Olympic Control Centre is the only major building that is designed by a local Chinese architect. The design is developing a new image to the demographics in Beijing welcoming the Digital age. The design of the building resembles a circuit board of a computer. The abstracted mass of the building, reflecting the simple repetition of 0 and 1 in its alternation between void and solid, recreates on a monumental scale the microscopic underpinnings of life in the digital age to form a potent symbol of the Digital Olympics and the Digital Era. In the future, it is expected that the building will be constantly under renovation as it evolves to keep pace with technology.
Materials 11 February 2008
The major delight technologically is Zhu's creative use of unexpected materials. A special fiber he developed with a Chinese manufacturer, which was used for the flooring in the building, and is ideally suited for the projection of ever-changing digital images.
Equally, the material is strong enough to be used for sci-fi style pedestrian bridges within the building. As for the oddly gleaming end walls of the pavilion, these are composed of aluminum sheets made to look, strangely, like stone. A Chinese tin can manufacturer developed the technique. Ingenious - and the results are delightful.
World Media Controversy 18 June 2008
Tom Dyckhoff was the first western journalist/critique who was given a tour round the Olympic green developments. Even though there is a big roar especially with the other developments, the foreign critique wrote that the other buildings were not anything special. Rather he said that the Olympic Control Centre was a flop, nothing architecturally fascinating and is "slightly less spirit crushing inside"
Pei-Zhu (Architect) 5 November 2007
To develop the building concept and win a design competition in which seven other internationally renowned firms participated, start-up design firm Studio Pei-Zhu considered the role of architecture in the information age.
Beijing Network information Industry Office (Client) 23 April 2008
“A high-profile attack on Chinese computer systems during the Beijing Olympics would be a serious blow to organizers and the government, which has worked hard to position the Games as a celebration of the economic and social strides made by China”. It is the Beijing Network Information Industry Office’s duty to protect the network and information systems during the Olympic Games.
In 2001, the Beijing municipal government also promised that the Olympics (often referred to as the Digital Olympics) would have the greatest technological offerings of any Olympics in history. But the city's electronic ambitions extend beyond the Games
Tom Dyckhoff, Architecture Critic
“When the world's gaze falls on Beijing on August 8, the Chinese want their Olympic buildings to dazzle. And as long as the world's gaze remains mainly on the Herzog & de Meuron-designed national stadium, they'll succeed”.