Lujiazui, Shanghai, China

Shanghai (上海) is the largest city in China and the largest population center in the world, now exceeding 24 million people.  These 24 million inhabitants are comprised of 14 million permanent residents and almost 10 million migrant residents who provide much of the cities manual labor and services.    Shanghai has been a major hub for shipping and trading for centuries but grew substantially in importance in the 19th century when Europeans recognized its potential for economic development.   Following the First Opium War and the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the Shanghai International Settlement was established and the city began to flourish to become the preeminent financial hub of the Asia Pacific by the 1930s.  While development slowed significantly through the period following World War II, the economic reforms in the 1990s led to intensive redevelopment as evidenced by the emergence of Lujiazui. 

 

Lujiazui District, Pudong Shanghai,  October 2015

Lujiazui is the new financial district located in Pudong on the eastern (“Dong”) bank of Huangpu (“Pu”) River and sits directly across from the old financial district of the Bund in Puxi.  The rapid and aggressive growth of Lujiazui is nothing short of amazing.  See the photo below for what you would have seen at the same location across the Huangpu River in 1987.  This area was comprised only of farmland, residential houses, warehouses and factories.  The first major landmark to be built was the Oriental Pearl Tower which was completed in 1994 (just over 20 years ago!).  The skyline today bears absolutey no resemblance whatsoever as evidenced by photos taken here during the 1980s.  Unbelievable.

 Lujiazui 1987, Photographer Unknown

Lujiazui 1987, Photographer Unknown

Lujiazui today is filled with many tall and impressive monuments to modern architecture.  The tallest 3 mega-buildings are the Shanghai Tower, the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center.  The Shanghai Tower was completed in mid-2015, but as of the time of my visit in October 2015 was not yet open to the public.  Construction on the Shanghai Tower started in 2008, is 632 metres (2,073 ft) high and has 128 stories with a total floor area of more that 4 million square feet.   It is the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. 

 The Big 3 - Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai Tower

The Big 3 - Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower has many interesting and modern features essential for such a massive building in these conditions.  The curved shape and rounded edges are designed to minimize the impact of typhoons common to Shanghai.  The massive concrete core and steel super columns were designed to speed construction and provide stability in an active seismic zone on clay soil.  There is also a 1000 metric ton tuned damper in the top of the building to minimize sway for the comfort of the occupants.  For many more interesting facts and design features of Shanghai Tower, check out the link du.gensler.com.

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