Pudong New Area (east side of Huang Pu River on the side opposite the Bund) is a 208-square-mile (522-square-kilometer) area with industrial parks, some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, billion dollar auto and steel plants, foreign factories, and housing developments. There are separate zones for finance (Luijazui), high tech development (Zhangjiang), export processing (Jinqiao) and trade (Waigaoqiao). Dong means east side of the river. Web Site: Official government site

The heart of Pudong is basically a group of trophy skyscrapers plunked down in what used to be rice fields. Conceived by former Shanghai mayor and Chinese prime minister Zhu Rongji and designed to be China's premier "free economic zone," Pudong was built from scratch with its own international airport. Many of the showcase building are designed by famous architects from Italy, Japan, Spain and the United States. The land used to be occupied by marshes, farms, once-story building and rice paddies.

Central Pudong is filled with new skyscrapers, office buildings and hotels and offices for over 2,000 foreign companies, including many in the Fortune 500. Shanghai contains more than 200 skyscrapers and many of the most prominent ones are located here among terraced apartments and wide, tree-lined boulevards.

Among the factories built in Pudong have been a $1.5 billion General Motors plant that churns out Buicks. On the far eastern end, about 32 kilometers from downtown Shanghai, is the massive Pudong international airport which opened in 1999 and is connected to downtown Shanghai by the maglev train. There is an impressive river walk with shops and cafes and good views of river traffic and sights on the opposite shore. The area as a whole isn't very walker-friendly. The wide roads are difficult to cross.

David Devoss wrote in Smithsonian magazine: ““Pudong, the district Deng had in mind when he spoke of the enormous dragon of wealth, was 200 square miles of farmland 20 years ago; today, it is home to Shanghai’s skyscraper district and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which has daily trading volumes of more than $18 billion, ranking seventh worldwide. The jade-colored stone used for curbing around the Jin Mao Tower may strike an outsider as a bit much, but for Kathy Kaiyuan Xu, Pudong’s excess is a source of pride. “You must remember that ours is the first generation in China never to know hunger,” says the 45-year-old sales manager for a securities company. Because of China’s policy of limiting urban married couples to one child, she said, “families have more disposable income than they ever thought possible.” [Source: David Devoss, Smithsonian magazine, November 2011]

Century Plaza in Pudong is sometimes described as Shanghai’s equivalent of Tiananmen Square. It is where people gather for large celebrations such as when Shanghai was selected to host the 2010 World Expo.

Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower

Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower (Metro Line 2, Lujiazui Station, in Pudong) is a massive 460-meter-high (1,500-foot-high) multicolored, rocket-ship-shaped structure located across the Huangpu River from the Bund. The centerpiece of the Pudong development area and the tallest television tower in Asia, it contains two immense disco-ball-like geodesic domes with elevated shopping malls inside.

Opened in 1995, the Oriental Pearl Tower is the a futuristic symbol of Shanghai. It flashes and changes different colors and patterns at at night.. Purple and pink, it cost $100 million and rises above rows of new concrete apartments and glass skyscrapers. The tower is open daily from 8:15am to 9:15pm. The entrance fee varies from $6 to $12, depending on how high you want to go. There are often long lines to board the elevator to the observation area, where there is an outstanding view. The viewing decks offer great views of both East and West Shanghai.

For a $10 admission fee, visitors can play laser tag, watch robots in a space station and go on a virtual-reality roller coaster ride in Space City, a four-story theme park in the lower orb. At the bottom of the tower is the Shanghai Municipal History Museum, with gunboats moored in river and wax figures of foreigners at a ball. Web Sites: Wikipedia ; Travel China Guide

Jin Mao Tower

Jin Mao Tower (Metro Line 2, Lujiazui Station, in Pudong) is the 34th tallest building in the world (as of 2020). It is 421 meters (1,380 feet) tall, has 88 floors and was completed in 1999. It was the world's 6th tallest building as of 2008. Resembling across between a pagoda and a Manhattan skyscraper, it cost $540 million and used to be is home to the world's highest hotel (the Hyatt), the world's highest health club (at the Hyatt) and the world's longest laundry shoot, which runs from the 87th floor of the Hyatt hotel to the its basement until it was surpassed by the Hyatt next door in the Shanghai World Financial Center.

nullThe Jin Mao Tower has been described as a super-sized modernist pagoda. It was designed with good fortune in mind. Eight and 88 are lucky number. The buildings height 414 meters (1,380 feet) is also auspicious. Among the buildings that are taller are the 508-meter-high Taipei 101 in Taiwan, the 452-meter-high (1,491-foot-high) Petronas Towers in Malaysia and 1,461-foot-high Sear's Tower in Chicago.

Opened in August, 1999, Jin Mao Tower was designed by the American firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the same architects that designed the Sears Tower. The 555-room Grand Hyatt Shanghai occupies the top 35 floors of the building. Elevators race from the ground floor to the 88th floor in 49 seconds. Among the building's problems are the fact that there are too few window-washing gondolas to keep the window clean.

David Devoss wrote in Smithsonian magazine: Jin Mao Tower’s tiered, tapering segments recall a giant pagoda, there’s a hotel swimming pool on the 57th floor, and a deck on the 88th floor offers a view of scores of spires poking through the clouds. I had to look up from there to see the top of the 101-story World Financial Center, which tapers like the blade of a putty knife. The Bank of China’s glass-curtained tower seems to twist out of a metal sheath like a tube of lipstick.”

The tower is open daily from 8:30am to 9:00pm. There is an observation deck with fine views of boats jostling for position in the Huangpu River below. The entrance fee is $6. Nearly the same views can he had for free from the Grand Hyatt, where there is floor to ceiling glass. Around Jin Mao is Luijiazui, the main financial center. Among the other notable buildings are the Pudong Shangri-La, a five-star hotel used by Tony Blair and other VIPs when they visit Shanghai.

In June 2007, Alain “Spiderman” Robert climbed Jin Mao Tower without permission. Afterwards he was arrested, spent five days in jail and was banned from entering China. A few months later he showed up in China again after being invited to climb Mt. Tianmen in Hunan Province by officials at the national park, where the mountain is located, to attract tourists to the area. Web Sites: Skyscraper Page ; Wikipedia ; Jin Mao Group ; Shanghai Grand Hyatt

Shanghai World Financial Center

Shanghai World Financial Center (Metro Line 2, Lujiazui Station, in Pudong) is the 12th tallest building in the world (as of 2020). It is 492 meters (1,614 feet) tall. It has 101 floors and was completed in 2008. For a while it was the world's second highest building. It was the tallest building in China until the completion of nearby Shanghai Tower. [Source: Wikipedia]

Officially unveiled in August 2008, around the time of the Beijing Olympics, the 101-story structure is 492 meters high and cost $1.1 billion. Taipei 101 in Taiwan is the highest building the world. Taller buildings are expected to open in Dubai in 2009 and South Korea in 2012.

Designed by New York architect Kohn Peterson Fox and conceived and owned by Japanese developer Minoru Mori, the Shanghai World Financial Center has a bold, sharp-edged design has been called a Chinese samurai sword. While the building was under construction a huge circle near the top was replaced with a rectangle to avoid any comparisons with the rising sun.

Mori was is one of Japan's richest people (he dies in 2012). He bought the land on which the World Financial Center is built in 1994. The project was expected to be launched in 1996 and completed in 2001, but were held up by delays, the most crippling of which was the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Rents for offices are around $3 a square meter per day, the highest commercial rent charged in Shanghai. Lehman brothers scrapped its plans to have office in the building and Morgan Stanley reduced its space from eight floors to two after the economic crisis in 2008.

The observation deck, located on the 94th to 100th floors, is the world's highest. Access costs $12. In September 2008 a sky bridge was opened on the 100th floor of the building. The 180-foot walkway tops the observation deck and has cantilevered glass walls and a glass floor and provides spectacular views of the Shanghai skyline and the Huangpu River.

Otherwise go through the Park Hyatt Shanghai and take the elevator up to 100 Century Avenue, a sprawling restaurant on the 91st floor with triple height atriums and six kitchens that serve dinners that cost over $100 per person and offer everything from Peking duck to pasta to sushi.

Shanghai World Financial Center is home of the Park Hyatt which is between the 79th and 93rd floors and now the second highest hotel in the world (the tallest is the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai). It has 179 rooms. The only thing above the hotel is the observation deck. The views are stunning from almost every room and every window restaurant table in the hotel. The entrance, with its 15-meter high ceiling is on the ground level. Rates for the 174-room hotel start at $734. The 138 seat French restaurant has meals that go for about $200 per person. Web Sites: Wikipedia ; Shanghai World Financial Center official site ; Skyscraper Page

Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower(Metro Line 2, Lujiazui Station, in Pudong) is the second tallest building in the world and the tallest building in China (as of 2020). It is 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall and has 128 floors, 106 elevators and indoor sky gardens. Completed in 2015, it is the tallest twisted building and is considered an architectural marvel but, according to the South China Morning Post, as of 2017 it still had many unoccupied floors due to unsolved technical problems related to fire prevention.

Shanghai Chengtou Group, the leading party of the joint venture that developed and owns Shanghai Tower, was assigned by the Shanghai Government to develop this tallest Chinese building. Adam Minter wrote in Bloomberg: “At more than 2,000 feet, Shanghai Tower is the world's second-tallest building. It looms over its neighbors — the world's ninth and 19th tallest buildings — in a supercluster of supertall structures unlike any other in the world. The only problem? Finding people to work there: Only 60 percent of Shanghai Tower is rented out, and only a third of current tenants have actually occupied their leased space. [Source: Adam Minter, Bloomberg, June 13, 2017]

Just a impressive as the building’s height are its advanced technologies and environmental features. Highlights of the Shanghai Tower include: 1) World’s Fastest Elevators: traveling at speeds over 65 kilometers per hour (40 miles an hour), with advanced systems that control vibration and air pressure (to keep ears from popping at high speeds and elevations). The cars’ motors regenerate electricity as they operate, cutting power use by 30 percent. [Source: The Atlantic, October 24, 2012]

2) Cities in the Sky: According to the Atlantic: The building feature nine distinct “neighborhoods” stacked on top of one another—each with a lobby as well as shops and cafés, so occupants need to make only infrequent trips to the base of the tower, and can thereby save energy.

3) Typhoon-Resistant: By rounding its corners and tapering the building toward the top, where winds are strongest, engineers reduced the force of the gusts against the structure by 24 percent—and save an estimated $58 million in materials and construction costs.

4) Parks in the Clouds: The space between the building’s core and its outer walls houses a series of landscape atria featuring trees and plants. These so-called sky gardens moderate temperature and improve air quality throughout the tower.

5) Turbines on Top: To harvest the energy of those tower-top breezes, wind turbine are affixed to the apex of the building, producing 54,000 kilowatt-hours each year and powering the structure’s exterior lighting.

Jun Xia: Designer of Shanghai Tower

Jun Xia, a Chinese architect who has worked in the United States and China, was the chief designer of the Shanghai Tower and the design director of the Gensler architecture firm. life and education Xia was born in Shanghai, China. He attended Tongji University and earned a bachelor's degree there in architecture. He later earned a master's degree in architecture from the University of Colorado Denver.

Art Gensler, founder of Gensler, said Xia was the "designer of the building (Shanghai Tower)" and credited Xia with helping “the firm score the Shanghai Tower contract and led the team’s work on it", and as "the design principal for Gensler on the project.” On designing the Shanghai Tower, Jun said the aim was "not to be the tallest, but be the best"

According to The Atlantic: “After studying architecture at the University of Colorado at Denver, Xia figured he’d be making the buildings of the future here in America. Then, in the late 1990s, he took a trip to Shanghai, glimpsed the coming building boom, and convinced the brass at the architecture firm Gensler to open up shop in China. [Source: The Atlantic, October 24, 2012]

Jun has said it is not the exterior geometry of the building, but the interior space of the Shanghai Tower that distinguishes it from other super skyscrapers. rises. The signature atriums in the sky are “community spaces in the sky,” which were inspired by the traditional narrow lane communities in urban Shanghai, where Jun grew. He said “the concept comes from my childhood memory in Shanghai”

Shanghai Tower: Home of the World’s Fastest Elevators

Shanghai Tower contains world’s fastest elevators: traveling at speeds over 65 kilometers per hour (40 miles an hour), with advanced systems that control vibration and air pressure (to keep ears from popping at high speeds and elevations). The cars’ motors regenerate electricity as they operate, cutting power use by 30 percent. Of the three elevators installed by Mitsubishi Electric in the Shanghai Tower, one is capable of reaching 20.5 meters per second; around 45.8 miles per hour — the fastest elevator in the world,. [Source: The Atlantic, October 24, 2012, Washington Post]

Adam Taylor wrote in the Washington Post: “Elevator rides are not usually worth documenting. But when you step into the elevator at Shanghai Tower, people often pull out their cameras. As the doors close, a screen at the elevator’s front lights up to show you the car’s location as it rises toward the building’s newly opened observation deck. A neatly dressed attendant informs passengers that the elevator has now reached a top speed of 18 meters per second, approximately 40 mph. “This is really fast,” one passenger said during a recent packed ride up the tower. It is, in fact, the fastest elevator in the world. [Source: Adam Taylor, Washington Post, January 4, 2017]

“At a ceremony in Tokyo in early December, the Shanghai Tower elevators and the company that made them, Mitsubishi Electric, were officially awarded the title by Guinness World Records. Yet many passengers may not even experience the top speed. To do so, you have to travel in a souped-up elevator car with a Mitsubishi technician who can flick a switch, making the speedometer on the screen turn red: 20.5 meters per second (45.8 mph).

“China is experiencing an elevator boom. Over the past decade, the vast majority of elevators installed around the world have been placed in China, where rapid urbanization has met with a desire for ambitious “super-tall” skyscrapers. It has been estimated that by 2020, 40 percent of all elevators will be in China. And when it comes to speed, the rest of the world can’t keep up. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the only skyscraper in the world taller than Shanghai Tower, but its elevators go barely half the speed. The fastest elevator in the West, installed at 1 World Trade Center in Manhattan, runs at a paltry 23 mph. The Shanghai Tower’s elevator goes even faster than the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a Disney haunted-elevator amusement-park ride that hurls thrill-seekers at 39 mph.

“Look at a list of the world’s fastest elevators now, and five out of the top 10 are in China. But China’s vast elevator market is slowing. As it slows, elevator companies are becoming more cutthroat — at every level. Companies such as Mitsubishi are in competition for huge contracts with companies from all over the world. Another Japanese elevator company, Hitachi, came close to winning the Shanghai Tower contract. It was awarded one in Guangzhou instead and then announced plans to beat Mitsubishi’s speed with its own 44.7-mph elevators.

“In the end, Mitsubishi installed new hardware on one of the elevators in Shanghai Tower, snatching the record back from Hitachi shortly after it was lost. Mitsubishi representatives said that the demands of the client, a consortium with links to the Shanghai municipal government, had prompted the decision.

Modern Architecture in Shanghai

Shanghai Apartment With Rotating Boxes by TOWOdesign is a good example cutting edge Chinese architecture. It was named by Dwell as one of 12 incredible projects by Chinese firms that are raising the bar for adaptive reuse and new builds alike. Michele Koh Morollo wrote in Dwell: “Shanghai studio TOWOdesign remodeled this small, 517-square-foot apartment in the heart of Shanghai with playful pops of color and rotating boxes to maximize space.” [Source: Michele Koh Morollo, Dwell, February 5, 2019 ++]

The Renovated 1940s Shanghai Residence by RIGI Design was als recognized by Dwell as an good example cutting edge Chinese architecture. According to Morollo: “A 1947 residence in an old lane in Shanghai gets a quirky, modern makeover by local studio RIGI Design with a new, skylit staircase in the center of the house that draws in plenty of light.” ++

Shanghai Tower: Signal That Skyscraper Age Is Over in China

Adam Minter wrote in Bloomberg: In a sense, “Shanghai Tower signifies the end of an era. Its plight suggests some major changes are afoot in the real-estate market — and, more significantly, in how the professional class lives and works in China. For two decades, Shanghai's skyline has symbolized China's economic renaissance and modernization. That's by intention. In 1991, the local government held a competition to design a signature business district on the riverfront. The winning proposal included three supertall buildings intended to represent the rise of Shanghai's financial district — and of China more broadly. [Source: Adam Minter, Bloomberg, June 13, 2017]

“If Shanghai wanted a private developer to take on such a project today, it wouldn't be able to find one. The city's commercial real-estate market couldn't justify the investment. According to CBRE Group Inc., a leasing agent for Shanghai Tower, more than 600,000 square meters of new office space went on the city's market in the first quarter of this year, with an additional 850,000 coming soon — even as rents are trending downward and vacancies are up.That's common in many of China's biggest cities. Some 46 percent of the 500-foot-plus buildings under construction in the world are in China, partly spurred by local governments keen to emulate Shanghai's skyline (just as the Shanghai government once hoped). In recent years, seemingly every aspirational Chinese city has followed the same model of highly concentrated downtowns topped by massive towers.

“Yet for all its symbolic value, that model is almost certainly obsolete — and the Chinese cities of the future are likely to look very different. One reason is that China's breakneck urbanization is creating cities that sprawl further than ever, leading to long commutes, reduced well-being and economic inefficiency. In 2014, the average one-way commute in Beijing and Shanghai exceeded 50 minutes — longer than in New York — while six-hour round-trip commutes are not unknown. Surveys consistently show that long hours, including commutes, are a source of rising dissatisfaction among China's white-collar workers. For employers, meanwhile, increased sprawl makes it harder and more expensive to connect with available labor.

“Perhaps more significantly, workplace habits are changing. Older generations were raised to appreciate lifetime employment and the stability of a large organization — precisely the sort of companies that tend to occupy tall office buildings. But millennials in China, as elsewhere, are embracing gig work, part-time opportunities and entrepreneurialism. Co-working spaces are booming. Luring young, less wealthy workers — who typically have to live far from pricey downtowns — is a growing challenge for big companies. Likewise, creating the kind of novel workspaces that might appeal to them is difficult in a traditional office tower.

“The government's solution to these problems is to cap the populations of the biggest cities, and encourage development of so-called urban clusters surrounding the traditional city centers. Those clusters will in theory be differentiated by function (manufacturing, services, government) and less densely populated. They'll be connected by high-speed commuter rail (roughly four times quicker than a subway) that can avoid a crowded central hub. With pressure on downtowns reduced, the need to build taller and denser will decline, too.

“In April, President Xi Jinping announced that the government would build a new city designed to siphon people and businesses from Beijing's crowded center and serve as a model for urban development for the next thousand years. Notably, supertall buildings aren't part of the plan. Shanghai Tower doesn't need to worry about being topped.

Image Sources: 1) CNTO (China National Tourist Organization; 2) Nolls China Web site; 3) Perrochon photo site; 4) Beifan.com; 5) developers, architecture firms, tourist and government offices linked with the place shown; 6) Mongabey.com; 7) University of Washington, Purdue University, Ohio State University; 8) UNESCO; 9) Wikipedia

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), UNESCO, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in May 2020

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