Forget Gymnastics: US Now Challenging China's Olympic Architecture
If you've never been to an American embassy, we're here to tell you that it's not actually that much fun. (Well, maybe it's fun if you're invited to a party, but that's not why we stopped by!) Still, the new diplomatic mission in Beijing looks good enough to compete with The Bird's Nest and The Watercube.
The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill building opened the same day as the games, August 8, and is second in size only to the US embassy in Baghdad. The eight-floor facility covers 10 acres and cost $434 million to build. It's just outside Beijing's Third Ring Road.
Inside, you'll find a rich collection of contemporary art, including pieces from Louise Bourgeois, Martin Puryear, Maya Lin, Cai Guo-Qiang and Robert Rauschenberg. Because the embassy had a budget of "only" $800,000, many of the works were either donated or sold way below cost to the State Department. One exception is Jeff Koons' "Tulips" which is on a 10-year loan from the artist.