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The north bank of Guangzhou’s Pearl River is bristling with freakytecture. Just behind a monstrous grandstand overlooking the world’s smallest athletics field and to the left of a building made entirely out of crazy paving is the biggest name on the strip. Zaha Hadid’s Opera House.

From across the river (by a half kilometre tower of geometry) it looks like the cross between the SR-71 Blackbird Bomber and a warehouse. Dark, sleek and obsidian do not do it justice.

Close up though, it looks like it has been built out of carpet tiles. It’s not even open and its already falling apart. What should be continuous planes of ninja-precision has been reduced by shoddy workmanship to clunky surfaces. I feel sympathetic, we had a couple bike hooks installed a couple weeks ago and the handyman somehow managed to warp a concrete wall. We can only wonder what Zaha said at the site review.

Still though, the area is phenomenal. 10 years ago there was nothing but chinatown. We were there. In fact it wasn’t much different 6 months ago – perhaps there’s the reason.

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