“Architect: Beijing airport damage not design flaw”

Remember all the incredible infrastructure projects and architectural masterpieces Beijing threw together for the Olympics? Someone should write a book about what’s happened to them since then, what with Bird’s Nest designer Ai Weiwei facing down the government and now reports of problems with Terminal Three of the Beijing airport caused by… wind. Yep:

One of the architects behind the busiest airport in Asia said Thursday that substandard materials or installation — not design flaws — are likely to blame for wind blowing parts of the roof off Beijing’s three-year-old Terminal 3.

The airport is the result of a frenetic Chinese building boom that has produced numerous architectural marvels, though some of the iconic new projects have been hit by quality and safety problems.

State media say passengers reported seeing bits of white and yellow roofing material blowing across runways and through parts of the $2.8 billion terminal on Tuesday. In statements issued earlier this week, the airport said no one was hurt and operations were not affected.

“If the products provided by the suppliers were not up to their highest standards, or if the individual items were not installed properly, then this kind of thing could happen,” said Shao Weiping, an architect with one of the firms that collaborated on the structure, the Beijing Architectural Design and Research Institute.

I don’t know anything about Mr. Shao, but given the constant flow of problems caused by poor installation that really wouldn’t surprise me. Some huge sum of money is blocked off for a project, put in a bag, and then passed from person to person until eventually arriving in the hands of the actual construction company, which barely has enough money for materials after skimming their own bit off the top. If the regulators come by at all, it’s just to pick up their bribe.

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Filed under architecture, bribery, corruption, regulations

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