Where Old Meets New: A Guide to Beijing's Skyline

Beijing's rooftops light up the sky. Hayley Duszynski

Written by  November 18, 2019

The fascinating architecture is just one of the reasons I love Beijing. 

Beijing is very unique in that it has a wide variety of architecture: from old hutongs that haven’t been touched in years to the eighth tallest tower in the world. The most famous part of the Beijing skyline is the CCTV tower; this is the China Television studios. Its unique shape and basement design make it particularly Instagram-worthy. This building is in the heart of the CBD, also known as the Central Business District. This area is home to large international companies and the most famous skyscrapers. 

The old and the new

One of the things I love most about Beijing is the vast difference between the historic culture and the needs of modern day life. In my local area of Wangjing, people still get their hair cut on the street. But, just a half hour metro ride later, I’m surrounded by five-star hairdressers. Beijing is becoming increasingly more popular with expats; this creates the need for more Western comforts, like big modern supermarkets. The contrast between the old and the new is what makes the city so unique. The two opposites blend together nicely, creating a peaceful atmosphere.

The contrast between the old and the new is what makes the city so unique. 

Can't-miss buildings in Beijing

Within the city there are some incredible architectural gems, such as:

• Birds Nest: home to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this building has the most exciting view of the city from its roof.

• Digital Beijing: this building was also an important part of the Olympics—it's like a barcode come to life! 

• IOMA Art centre: located in the 798 District, this building is shaped with metal curtain; it reminds you of a butterfly’s wings.

• Soho Galaxy Wangjing: designed by the famous Zara Hadid, this intergalactic-themed building is home to many shops and offices. The clean white stripes and curved infrastructure make it very aesthetically pleasing.

• Phoenix Centre: Located in Chaoyang Park, this building is a must-see. The design is so unique—it has a hole in the middle and you can walk around the whole building to understand the creative mind of the architect.

• Citic Tower: this is the eighth tallest tower in the world! It has one of the best views of Beijing; this simple but extraordinary tower can be seen for miles around and its slight curves at the top and bottom make it stand out even more from a standard skyscraper.

• CCTV Headquarters: a must-see in Beijing! As someone who loves architecture, I have never seen anything like this. The area surrounding the building is also perfect for an afternoon stroll.

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Hayley Duszynski

Hayley Duszynski is a designer, doodler, writer and picture taker, currently based in Beijing. Working across digital and print and doodling her way through life, she's eager to learn and make a positive impact.

Website: https://hayleyd.com

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