Beijing Olympian
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Olympian Beijing:
Construction and Destruction in China’s Capital

/// Beijing’s successful bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics set off a frenzied crusade to transform it into a modern world class metropolis. In little more than half a decade the Chinese government spent nearly 50 billion US dollars on new sporting facilities, subway lines, expressways and the world’s largest airport terminal. The Olympic Stadium, nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest”, cost nearly half a billion US dollars alone. Beijing’s Olympian construction spree was also coupled with a real estate boom that saw thousands of cranes sprout up across the city. Beijing’s impressive modernizing gains have not been achieved without significant losses, however. Authorities have proved all too willing to sacrifice many aspects of Beijing’s rich cultural heritage, particularly traditional architecture. The distinct network of neighbourhoods, known as Hutongs, that have defined residential life in Beijing for 800 years have increasingly fallen under the wrecking ball in the name of progress.
This set of photographs documents the rapid process of architectural destruction and construction that transformed China’s capital in the run up to the 2008 Olympics.

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