You can forget America - the next 100 years is all about China. As odd as it might seem to anyone who has grown up in a world dominated culturally and politically by a particular superpower, empires do rise and fall.
Sometimes they rise and fall, and then rise again. The Forbidden City, which dominates Beijing, proves that whatever China represents now, it more than represented in the past. As a statement of political and architectural ambition, it makes Buckingham Palace and Westminster look like a bunch of garden sheds on a Thames-side allotment.
Words: Jason Barlow
Photography: Lee Brimble
This feature was originally published in the Awards issue of Top Gear magazine