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Possible Olympics no-show 'not political', says Herzog

Jacques Herzog has revealed that he is ‘not sure’ if either he or practice partner Pierre de Meuron will attend the Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony in August.

The event is to be held in the Herzog & de Meuron-designed main stadium – the centrepiece of the summer extravaganza.

But, speaking at the Architecture Foundation’s Real Architecture Spring Talk last week, the 58-year-old architect claimed a no-show should not be taken as a sign of solidarity with the Games’ detractors.

Herzog said: ‘We are not sure [if we will attend], but it will not be for political reasons.

‘We said “yes” to the design, and to now say, “Oh, we didn’t know what the Chinese are about, we don’t like that, we cannot go” is so contradictory.’

The architect also dismissed reports that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, with whom Herzog & de Meuron collaborated on the design of the main stadium, has distanced himself from the scheme.

‘Ai Weiwei loves the building – he’s so proud of it,’ claimed Herzog.

‘He says he does not want to go to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics because he’s disgusted by the government and the Chinese regime, but he was the one who wanted us badly to do this design team. He loves the design.’

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