November 27, 2012
By Karen Wong
Karen Wong is the Deputy Director at the New Museum and an Architizer A+ Awards juror. In an on-going series, she profiles the latest and most interesting architects, designers, and thought leaders to join the A+ jury. See her previous post on United Nude’s Rem D. Koolhaas here.
I met Rory McGowan, an engineer and director of Arup China and Ireland, at the 2012 Architecture Biennale in Venice. I had just watched the premiere of Against All Odds, a documentary on the architect and former OMA partner Ole Scheeren. In the film Ole spoke at length about OMA’s design and construction of the China Central Television (CCTV) building in Beijing, but I was astonished that he failed to mention the project’s other principal designer, Rem Koolhaas.
In 2002, OMA was invited to participate in two legacy competitions, the World Trade Center Design and the headquarters of Chinese media monolith CCTV. Rem believes China is the future, and Rory cites that half the world’s built-environment stock exists in the country. The long-time collaborators abandoned the Big Apple to focus their attention on the “center of the world.” After winning with their “let’s reinvent the skyscraper” entry, Rory moved his family to Beijing and has spent most of the last decade overseeing one of the largest building teams Arup has ever assembled. He quips that it wasn’t until CCTV popped up in an episode of The Simpsons that his two young sons applauded their dad’s profession. Read more!