John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The headquarters of the Communist Party's official newspaper is getting a golden coating in preparation for its debut.
Somebody should probably tell Beijing's leaders they are erecting the most embarrassing skyline known to man.
Oh, wait – many people already have. That's why Chinese censors are furiously scrubbing the Internet of photos of the People's Daily new headquarters, which Shanghaist has affectionately dubbed the "penis tower."
For several months, the net's been abuzz over this massive prong, which was designed by architect Zhou Qi (who's now on the defense) as the headquarters for the official newspaper of the Communist Party. And rightly so: From certain angles, the structure takes on the appearance of a prized piece of the male anatomy. Or as one Reuters reporter put it, "If you have got a dirty mind, you know what I'm talking about."
Well, the yet-finished building appears almost ready for its prime-time debut. In the past several days workers have been giving it a shining new coat of gold, perhaps trying to minimize its similarity to a penis but in fact just making it look like a much grander one. It's the perfect complement to Beijing's CCTV tower, a Rem Koolhaas-designed building that locals have nicknamed the "Big Underpants."
Here's another glance at the People's Daily's newly gilded prominence:
And another couple views from earlier:
Top two photos: Jason Lee / Reuters. Bottom two: Petar Kujundzic / Reuters