In the aftermath of the February fire that scorched the TVCC building in Beijing, China, investigations continue on the strength and structural integrity of the burned building bringing up the question of what should be done with the building now? Will it need to be completely rebuilt or simply repaired? And if the latter, will anyone stay in it? The fire not seen as particularly ominous for the building.
Andrew Mueller-Lust, principal at Severud Associates, also involved in the investigation, is of the opinion that the chance of re-occupation of the building is not very high and points to certain historical precedents. One of these was the One Meridian Plaza, a Philadelphia office tower stricken by a fire on the 22nd floor in 1991. The fire raged for 18 hours, burning out one floor before moving on to the next, until it ran out of fuel at the 38th floor. Testing showed that the building could have been restored, but no one was willing to reoccupy it. It stood for years before finally being razed.
Unfortunately, it seems the same fate just might await TVCC. “As I read the Chinese newspapers, according to the official statements, the main structure is very little damaged,” said Tian-Fang Jing, principal at Weidlinger Associates. While that might be the case, the greater issue remains whether anyone would willingly go into a repaired TVCC.
It seems like Koolhaas and OMA just cant catch a break with this disaster. When I wrote about the fire last month, the common consensus in China was that the building burned to the degree that it did due to shoddy construction work in the design. Now that it is obvious (at least I think it is obvious) that this was not the case as the building structure is still sound, current public sentiment is that no one wants to have to move in after it is repaired. So what now?
Images obtained from: archpaper.com
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