China's imaginative new buildings rise from a banal landscape

07/16/2008 | NYTimes.com

As the portal to a rising nation, Beijing's Modernist new airline terminal -- the world's largest -- is an expression of China's transformation in preparation for this summer's Olympic Games. But the new country's beautiful new buildings, including the egg-shaped National Theater, the National Stadium and the translucent National Aquatics Center, stand in counterpoint to the uninspired landscape that surrounds them.

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