The architect of China Central Television's futuristic new headquarters has gone into damage-control mode after an online uproar over graphics in a book published five years ago that were interpreted as comparing the avant-garde complex to male and female genitalia. A week after internet chat rooms and a few newspapers on the mainland raised questions about whether China had paid millions for a massive embarrassment, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas yesterday dismissed the accusations and added that all he had tried to do with the CCTV project was to bring a good piece of architecture to Beijing. 'I was saddened by the speculation because the project combined the efforts from thousands of people including designers, owners and construction workers,' he said. 'All the people involved were hurt by such defamatory comments.' At the centre of the furore were two pages of graphics in a book published five years ago that put the CCTV complex in a pornographic context. Mr Koolhaas said he did not draw the graphics and they did not represent his design ideas. In an earlier statement, his firm, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, said it had rejected the series of cartoons and caricatures of its projects, which were proposed by the designers of the book. 'Instead, [we] chose a version in which the CCTV building is presented as the positive and shining symbol of a changing world order, which reflects our sincere intention with the design,' Mr Koolhaas said. However, the rejected material eventually made its way into the appendix of the book, which is now out of print. Bas Lagendijk, a spokesman for the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, said yesterday that Mr Koolhaas had explicitly stated in his book that he did not endorse the controversial graphics. China is an important market for Mr Koolhaas and the firm. The discussion of potential sexual connotations associated with the new CCTV complex would have embarrassed the authorities, who have been under pressure for their seeming obsession with pricey, ultra-futuristic designs, mostly by overseas architects. Such projects have been criticised by domestic designers for ruining traditional Chinese landscapes and serving as vanity projects. Some people who were unhappy with the CCTV headquarters actually expressed elation in internet forums when another part of the complex, housing a hotel, was gutted by a huge fire in February. The book, titled Content, was published in 2004. Some netizens began to question if Mr Koolhaas had designed the expensive structure with a sexual connotation in mind. But few picked up the subject until recently.