Only twenty-five years old, the Lujiazui Financial district, Pudong, Shanghai has a world class skyline and in 2014, the second tallest building in world.
Cities with great skylines have several buildings that stand out from the rest. New York has the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. Chicago has the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and John Hancock Center. Hong Kong has the International Commerce Centre, Two International Finance Centre, and the Central Plaza. Shanghai’s already impressive skyline has the Shanghai World Financial Center, Oriental Pearl Tower, and Jin Mao Tower, and will be joined by the Shanghai Tower in 2014; giving Shanghai two of the top four tallest buildings in the world.
The Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone district rose from farmland that is separated from the historical center of Shanghai by the Huangpu River. To live east of the Huangpu River prior to the emergence of the skyscrapers was for the poor of Shanghai. Today this area has some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC)
At 1,616 feet (492M) the SWFC is currently the third tallest building in the world. Originally the plans for the SWFC called for a round opening at the top to relieve wind pressure. Protests that the design resembled the Japanese rising sun and less expensive construction costs led to a change to a square design. The building is now affectionately referred to as the “bottle opener” and gift shops sell models of the building used for that function.
Oriental Pearl Tower (OPT)
The OPT is the most iconic structure of the Shanghai Skyline and the oldest. Completed in 1994, the OPT stands 1,535 feet (468M), making it the fifth tallest TV antennae in the world. Fifteen observation decks, shops, hotel rooms, and a rotating restaurant make the OPT as functional as it is beautiful.
Jin Mao Tower
The pagoda-styled Jin Mao Tower’s most interesting feature is on the inside. The Grand Hyatt Hotel has a 34 floor atrium that occupies floors 53 through 87. The Jin Mao Tower pays homage to the Chinese lucky number 8; its address is 88 Century Blvd., it is 88 stories tall, and it is structure is octagonal. Besides the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Jin Mao Tower houses businesses, shopping, and clubs.
Construction started on the Shanghai Tower on 2008. When it was completed in 2014, it will tower over its neighbors, standing 2,073 feet (632M) and become the second tallest building in the world behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (2716 feet, 828M). The Shanghai Tower design incorporates many sustainability features such as sky gardens, rain water recycling, and wind turbines.
Each distinctive building in the Shanghai skyline adds to the allure of a city that did not lack for reasons to visit. The fact that this area did not exist just 25 short years ago makes it that much more amazing.