Jin Mao Tower (SOM, 1998)

Yesterday I went back over to Pudong, and finally went up the Jin Mao tower, the second-tallest building in Shanghai after the World Financial Center next door…. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one, but I’d put it high on the list of Best Buildings in Shanghai. Though it is absurdly tall, the proportions seem right: compared to its taller neighbor it seems downright elegant. While most of the guidebooks (and wikipedia) will tell you the form is based loosely on traditional Chinese pagodas, to me it has more in common with the art-deco skyscrapers of New York, a resonance that seems contextual after a day wandering past the historical concession-era architecture past The Bund.  I think this mix is what makes it a compelling work of architecture – like Shanghai itself, it’s a blend of local and international influence.

“Cloud 9” is the bar/restaurant on the 87th floor. Free to visit, and a well-mixed cocktail will set you back less than the ticket to the tourist-clogged observation deck.

More photos on Flickr.

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