Tag Archives: great view

OLYMPIC MASCOT MALL – BEIJING – GRADE B+

It has been eight years since the Olympics were held here in Beijing. The Beijing Olympics was the first international event that catapulted China into the world’s attention. At the time there were signs of the Olympics everywhere, but since 2008 these symbols have all but disappeared.

Glassless

The few signs that were left behind have rotted away like The Olympic Homko Ghost Town are a sore reminder to most Beijingers that the Olympics was only a short-lived glory for the city and the country. It was with great pleasure then that Burbex found not only a mall abandoned during construction, but also the the abandoned Olympic mascots rotting in the long dry grass.

Beibei's Swan Dive

For those of you not familiar with the Beijing Olympic mascots, there were five of them called Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, and Yingying, and Nini. Their names all stuck together “Beijing Huanying Ni” means “Beijing Welcomes You.” Above you can see Beibei doing a swan dive into the yellow Bejing soil.

Huanhuan's Shame

Jingjing, who was black and white and looked like a panda was noticeably absent,  but Huanhuan, who is red and has hair like the Olympic flame, was found hiding her shame behind a bush.

No Pictures Please

Yingying in yellow was trying a bit of cycling on a very unreliable looking bike, no wonder she crashed into the thorny bushes – poor ying ying. For an animated Olympic mascot she does have a nice rump like you can see below…

Yingying's Bicycle Bootie

The last of the mascots Burbex found was the reclusive Nini, who in his post-Olympic shame tried to hide his green face from the camera. But wait… what’s this? Could it be that there is one more mascot to add to the five?

Nini's Disgrace

Of course, who could possible forget the Paralympic mascot Niuniu the Cow, which literally means “Little Cow”. Burbex was not quite sure what the connection between para-Olympians and juvenile bovines was, but in Chinese “niu” can also mean “awesome” as in the popular Chinese phrase “niubi” which literally means “cow’s cunt” or “fucking cool!” Does this means the Paralympics was “fucking cool? or a load of bull?

福牛乐乐

As you can see in the background, it was not the mascots that first drew Burbex to this yellow grass paradise, but rather the incomplete shopping mall, split in two and hidden behind a very fancy French restaurant.

Hidden in the Dry Grass

The mall itself is located close to the embassy district around Liangma Qiao (that’s Shining Horse Bridge in English – lots of animals in this report). The waste land around the mall is covered in weeds and dry grass that cover up all kinds of abandoned structures, but it was the mall that Burbex was interested in early one morning.

Ray of Light

Taking advantage of the morning sunlight, Burbex descended into the swampy cellar, where sunbeams were breaking their way through holes in the concrete to light up the subterranean world. The ground is soft underfoot and reminds you that large areas of Beijing used to be marshland.

Enclave

Beams of sunlight lit up various enclaves like this half circle…

Square Enclave

and this studly rectangle.

Rebar Garden

Burbex had to be very careful winding his way through the garden of rebar and cut off pipes with razor sharp edges. In fact climbing one set of stairs, an evil piece of rebar tore its way through the sleeve of Burbex’s favourite hoodie.

Stairs

On the ground floor, staircases abounded and glassless window frames let in the morning light.

Three by One

Morning Light

Burbex could also see the luxury housing over the fence next door to the mall.

Red Roof

He also suspected that the chalked grafitti on many of the columns was from the local children practicing their English compositions, “so that, in order to, so as to, in order that”. Burbex’s heart flushed to think that these young urbexers could write such good English.

In Order To

One kid even seemed to be writing a cement-based novel…

Full of Activity

The top floor boasted some great views of the swanky Marriott hotel in nearby Liangma Qiao as well as proving that Beijing does occasionally have blue skies.

Glassless

Other windows just provided a great sense of symmetry over the whole site.

Five by One

The real highlight of the mall, however, was the rooftop view looking out to the complex of high rises which seems to be taking forever to complete, probably another project going slow for lack of funds.

Overbearing Angels

Again the view towards the Marriott Hotel was irresistible.

Marriot Billboard

In closing, Burbex found that The Olympic Mascot Mall had a little bit of everything: a skanky cellar where lots of workers had pooed; cool window frames; a great rooftop; and of course a bunch of abandoned mascots. Not bad for an early morning’s work.

Six Houses

For all these reasons and more, Burbex awards The Olympic Mascot Mall with a firm B-. If you are a fan of other abandoned projects, be sure to check out The Guosen Mall with some of the best nighttime views of the city and also The Great Mall of China, which is probably never going to get finished.

Dots of Lght

If you want to come out with Burbex some time, just send an email to burbex@outlook.com, and he’ll be glad to take you on a double trip to The Olympic Mascot Mall and also The Solana Hotel which is just ten minutes walk away, and remember Beijing Huanying Ni!

BAD FENGSHUI – LONGYAN INTERNATIONAL PARK – BEIJING A-

When it comes to urbexing in Beijing, or indeed anywhere in the world, there are certain features that urbexers search for. Some people go for the tunnels, some people go for the high places, others like a place with a good story. When you can find a site which combines all of these features and more, that’s when you know you have found a classic site.

Cathedral Gates

Longyun International Park has all of these features and more. Burbex stumbled across this site by chance. Passing in a taxi from the airport, the top of a dome poked its way into the smoggy sky begging to be explored.

Terracotta Dome

Scouting the outside perimeter there are Communist slogans encouraging citizens to be “civilised” and make Beijing a “centre of development”. Burbex took a knife to one of the slogans and cut his way through to the other side.

Ice Rink

Plunging into the darkness beyond, underground canals snake their way hundreds of metres forward. Faint glints of light barely seen in the pitch black.

Opal Waters

The frozen canals meander from left to right, and along the way there are plenty of unusual water features to be taken in. Small flags warn of the water’s edge like flashes of colour at the village fete.

Oval Boat

Getting lost is inevitable in this underground labyrinth. Tunnels weave off in all directions, and circle around and around in circles. Only the lucky will find the Tiffany roofed exits.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

These are the most heavily guarded areas though, and the security guards shout down curses at intruders but do not dare penetrate the labyrinth.

Auditorium

The inner dome is a smaller version of the first, and does not have the balconies or the grandeur of its big brother. It feels no less dangerous though.

Venice View

The mouth of the canal leads out into a half-completed Suzhou style water garden. Missing the colour of flowers and trees, it is just a cement garden. From here though, the villas and the upper areas can be accessed.

Window View

Entering through the glassless windows, the villas are easily accessed. Running up the stairs and through unlocked doors, the rooftop dome yawns at the sky.

Dome Top

The beginning of this post mentioned a good story behind this location. According to local taxi drivers, it was shut down because of the death of several workers on the site. Due to this the Fengshui is now considered too bad to continue. This is a curse for construction companies who cannot battle against the entrenched superstition in China.

Raising Flgs

This is very similar to Chaoyang 81, which has remained empty for decades simply because of its ghostly reputation. Probably this site will be left to rot until it becomes too dangerous or too much of an eyesore for the local government to stand.

DSC01836

In retrospect this is the only site that has ever given Burbex nightmares, so maybe its ghostly reputation is true. Whatever the case, with or without ghosts, this is a first class site for urban exploration and earns a solid A-.

Dome View

Don’t forget that no matter what your taste, from industrial sites like Jiaohua Chemical Works, to tall places like Guosen Towers, or ghostly locations like The Nationalist Hotel, or Chaoyang 81, Burbex is only an email away ready to help you on your way.

 

 

THE BACK LOT – BEIJING FILM ACADEMY – GRADE B-

Sometimes you get the feeling that the only urbex sites in Beijing are huge industrial sites like Jiaohua and Capital Steel, or projects that have been abandoned halfway and left to rot like Guoson Mall and Sunshine Park. Sometimes what the Beijing urbexer needs is a little bit of nostalgia to add to the diet of rebar and concrete. That’s where Beijing Film Academy steps in.

Shining Mao

In Beijing one of the characters that the urbexer is always looking for is 拆 which means to cut down or demolish. This character is often painted on buildings slated for demolition. The buildings may remain for years without anything happening. You can see the character painted on both sides of the back lot gate in the picture below.

Lot Entrance

Once over the wall and safely in the lot, there is the feeling of a one-horse cowboy movie, you’re always expecting a Chinese John Wayne to stride through the Chinese-style gate and challenge some dupe to a shootout at midday.

Red Gate

The only heroes here are the dogs who will follow you everywhere around the site. They are a strange breed of mutt specially designed to make as much noise as possible, while at the same time attracting nobody’s attention.

Plaster Warriors

Hidden in the back lots are props of warriors and buddhas left over from older productions. There is a strong sense of China’s histories overlapping and blending on the lots which is probably not that far from reality.

Lucky Wall

Some areas of the lot are burned down or have fallen into serious disrepair. Alleyways lead from more modern hutong scenes into ancient China.

Last Chance Saloon

China’s own Last Chance Saloon contains tonnes of props and relics from the height of the movie age.

IMG_5527

Climbing up to the roof of the studio, you can get a great overview of the entire site. Be very careful though, the concrete balcony is crumbling and it is three floors down.

IMG_5525

You don’t really realise the scale of the site until you get up on top. The main studio is all locked up. That calls for another midnight trip.

IMG_5507

The site combines Western and Eastern styles, probably as was seen in Shanghai in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

IMG_5496

Huge lot doors are overgrown with tumbleweeds and thick Beijing dust chokes the air.

Warrior Garden

In a hidden garden Laughing Buddha overlooks an army of plaster soldiers and demi-gods.

Giving Head

Four Wheel Drive

Fallen Warriers

End of the Block

Empty Gate

Demolition

Circular Doorway

There are myriad doors and gates to get lost in, and the whole place has a strong sense of the film Labyrinth with its grey bricks and twisting turns.

With all this in mind, Beijing Film Academy is a perfect slice of nostalgia from a mixture of Chinese eras that never existed. It confuses the senses, and as the sun sets you are left feeling even more confused.

For these reason Burbex awards Beijing Film Academy with a B+ grade. If you would like to come along and see the site for yourself, please get in touch at burbex@outlook.com.

 

 

SWISS CHEESY – TONGHUI INTERNATIONAL, BEIJING – GRADE B+

Beijing has its fair share of kitschy European style developments in various states of abandonment (see the Olympic Homko villas), but the Tonghui International Bar Street 通惠国际酒吧街 really takes the biscuit.

Rose and Summer

Construction on this Swiss-style bar street began in 2010, and was expected to open in 2014. Somewhere towards the end of the timeline, the project was abandoned, and now the town clock chimes to an empty village every hour.

Udderly Weird

The street itself is based on the Alpine Swiss town of Interlaken, and as well as the charismatic design of the street, the development also boasts 18,000 square metres of underground shopping space.

Stuck in Custard

You can check out some of the original designs do the complex at Su Landscape, the company which designed the wooden facades. All of the complex is still completely unoccupied, and gaining access is extremely simple.

Herr Green's Gasthaus

One very old security guard sleeps in a fairy tale cottage at the far end of the street (above: right of the green guesthouse).

Hotel California

The best way to move from building to building is either by the tunnels that thread their way under the street, or even better, to jump in and out of windows like a fairy tale goblin or elf.

When I was going up the stairs...

Unusually, even though the exteriors of the buildings are complete and boast some fantastic and unusual decorations, the interiors are just cement, and none of the buildings have stairs to the first floor.

Under the Yellow Brick Road

Apparently, Tonghui International was part of a 400 million yuan project by The Chaoyang Planning Commission, trying to invigorate business close to Guomao, the economic centre of Beijing.

Fondue Leak in Swiss Village

Whatever the case, the project is dead now, and the street and underground shopping mall both lie dormant.

Cart on the Yellow Brick Road

A metal fence surrounds the street, and in the front yard there is a bronze horse and cart created in 2008 according to the date on the horse’s rump.

Cuckoo Clock

With its easy access and fairy tale weirdness, Tonghui International Bar Street gets a B+ from Burbex.

Oh deer! What a horny stag!

By the way, if you loved this great leisure site, be sure to check out these other great urbex sites in Beijing, like Floating Dragon Lake Amusement Park, and The Great Mall of China in neighbouring Hebei.

Of course if you want to come along, just drop me a line, and don’t forget to bring your Swiss cheese. I hope you know how to yodel.

GUOSEN MALL NIGHT EXPEDITION- BEIJING – GRADE A***

Welcome back to the Guosen Mall twin towers, two mighty skyscrapers that loom over Dongzhimen in central Beijing. They sure do look pretty, but underneath their shiny glass surface lies a mess of concrete and steel.  So many people have contacted me about these fine structures that a night time run was called for. What’s more I was joined by my French apprentice. C’est bien!

Towering Inferno

As you may remember from a previous post, Guoson Mall complex is a defunct shopping mall, office complex, and also features twin sky scrapers. The left-hand sky scraper is easily accessible, but the right-hand one is too dangerous to climb.

Penthouse View

The skyscrapers are more than 34 storeys of back breaking climbing in the pitch black with only rolling dust and ghosts for company. The reward for this deadly climb? One of the best free views of Beijing in the whole city. Lucky for me and my apprentice, we had a clear windy night with perfect views. Enough chat, let’s look at those views.

The Bends

Don’t look down…

Dongzhimen from Above

No, really, don’t look down.

City Support

The tall building in the middle of the photo marks the centre of Beijing Central Business District.

Walking the Beams

City Scaffolding

Follow the Yellow Light Highway

City of Fallen Angels

Spectre on the Scaffolds

Is that the ghost of a deceased worker about to relive his fatal jump?

Cross Support

The upper floors of the building were originally built for air conditioning units, but now the crossbeams just whistle in the wind.

Blue Cross Sale

The very top of the building is marked with a fake bank logo. City policy is, that if the building is incomplete, it must have a glass façade to surround the building keeping with the image of the city.

Broken Bank Logo

Oakwood Figure of Four

Cross of Light

This is definitely not an urbex expedition with those suffering with vertigo, and be sure to have a good stretch before you climb the towers. Be sure to check out the rest of the complex Guoson Mall Complex. Don’t forget that if you ever want to visit one of these sites when you are in Beijing, just send me an email at burbex@outlook.com, and we can set up a time to meet.

To check out the whole set click here.

 

 

 

 

THE SHADOW TOWERS – GUOSEN MALL – GRADE A

Burbex has been visiting Guoson Mall in Dongzhimen for three years now and taken up lots of new friends. You can check out some other Guosen Mall adventures like The Guosen Mall Night Expedition and equally interesting Longyan International Park, but be sure to take a good look at this classic Burbex article first.

The Guosen Mall complex is purportedly worth 14 billion yuan. You would think with a price tag like that the developers would have been able to shift the development by now.

the-very-hungry-caterpillar

However, there have been difficulties with all negotiations over the last seven years, and it still remains vacant. There are two skyscrapers behind the mall. Burbex climbed all 35 floors of the rear tower, and the view was amazing.

It should be pointed out, that this is an exceptionally dangerous site. There are holes in some of the top floors which go right down to the bottom. Throwing little pieces of rebar (steel construction bars) down these holes, Burbex couldn’t even hear them hit the ground. Despite this, the surrounding area is frankly gorgeous.

shining-towers

The pools outside have been left to turn wild, and the place is ripe with sunflowers and aubergines planted by the migrant-workers who guard the place, who are probably more at home growing vegetables than protecting duff skyscrapers anyway.

limpid-pool

If you are looking for a great adventure, be sure to get in touch with Burbex at burbex@outlook.com, and set up a time to come and see the best urbex that Beijing has to offer.

scaffolding

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man-in-the-shadows

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