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Thread: Shanghai: World Financial Center, 492m (101 floors)

  1. #16
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    The redesign certainly is cutting-edge...or at least it would be if it were in Dallas or somewhere where quality modern architecture is uncommon. The basic form is obviously slick and dynamic, but the moon gate at the top was what brought it together, what gave this building character and an identity. Fill it in and you've got a copycat of an old design for a Lotte tower in Pusan, South Korea. How ironic that there were concerns that the hole was too representative of the Japanese flag when Japanese financiers contributed heavily to the construction of this building in the first place.

    Maybe Shanghai's era of fantastical space-age architecture on steroids and laughing gas has come to an end, if all that KPF can come up with for a replacement design for its soon-to-be tallest is 500 meters of indistinctive mediocrity.

  2. #17

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    The redesign is anything but mediocre. The hole has indeed been replaced because of concerns about it resembling the Japanese flag but it is still one hell of a skyscraper. See for yourself.

    Source: xitek.com
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    Latest construction shots:



    Beginning on yesterday, construction rate would pushed to 1 storey every 4 1/2 days, after weeks of finalising structural design plans.


    Earlier shots from Jinmao Tower:

  3. #18
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    Well, at least there's still a hole. But the wedge shape reminds me of Kingdom Center; plus it's less elegant than the round hole.

  4. #19

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    This is one of those sad times that I as a NYer get building-envy


    World Financial Center....yeah, right....stop ripping our names off, call it the Center for Asian Financial Growth or something CAFG, lol

  5. #20
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Would you trade the Freedom Tower for this building?
    Hell yeah.

    I wonder if some daredevil will attempt to fly a small plane through the opening.

  6. #21

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    So the hole is a go again? Only not round?

    I really like this building with either shape of hole. Without it: its eh.

  7. #22

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    edit
    Last edited by Jim Koeleman; December 12th, 2008 at 05:50 AM.

  8. #23

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    Status as of today Dec 2005. Thanks to James Foong of SSC for the photos.





  9. #24

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    It looks like the concrete core is taking up an ungodly percentage of the space within the tower. I suppose this is the reason that super-mega-talls are uneconomical around the world.

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby
    Would you trade the Freedom Tower for this building?
    Hell yeah.

    I wonder if some daredevil will attempt to fly a small plane through the opening.
    I would never trade the new freedom tower for this. I like it but in Asia and only Asia. I like the new freedom tower more anyway. The airplane part will probably happen.

  11. #26

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    The New Yorker

    SHANGHAI SURPRISE

    by PAUL GOLDBERGER

    The radical quaintness of the Xintiandi district.

    Issue of 2005-12-26 and 2006-01-02
    Posted 2005-12-19

    Modern Shanghai combines the soul of Houston with the body of Las Vegas. In Pudong, the city’s booming financial district, flashing trails of colored lights race up and down the shafts of office towers, as if they were casinos. One freshly minted skyscraper, Aurora Plaza, has a façade of gold reflective glass that at night becomes even more garish, turning into a multistory L.E.D. screen on which huge smiling faces cinematically dissolve into bright corporate logos. The sky line of China’s largest city has become a strangely exuberant version of the “Blade Runner” aesthetic, with simple geometries and sharp lines cutting into the sky; it may not be beautiful but, in its staggering scale and intensity, it certainly is awe-inspiring.

    The most provocative new architectural project in Shanghai, however, has none of the youthful brashness of the Pudong towers. Called Xintiandi, which means “New Heaven and Earth,” and completed in 2002, it is a refined cluster of traditionally styled Shanghai brick town houses near the old French Concession district. Arranged along a two-block pedestrian street, the complex is filled with restaurants, cafés, night clubs, and luxury boutiques, including Comme des Garçons and Christian Dior. The seven-acre development, which is highly popular, is what Western builders call a “festival marketplace.” Like Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, New York’s South Street Seaport, and Boston’s Quincy Market, Xintiandi is a stage set of an idyllic past, created so that people in China can experience the same finely wrought balance of theme park and shopping mall that increasingly passes for upscale urban life in the United States. Just as many of Shanghai’s skyscrapers reiterate gestures that long ago became clichés in the West—enormous atriums; tall, pointy spires—the idea of a Disneyfied old downtown is a recycled one. Yet in China, a country with almost no tradition of preserving everyday commercial architecture or of putting up new buildings that look like old ones, the notion feels radical. Before Xintiandi, crowning a glass office tower with a pagoda was seen as a sophisticated homage to the architectural past.

    The principal architect of Xintiandi is, not surprisingly, an American: Benjamin Wood, who once worked for Benjamin Thompson, the designer of Quincy Market. (Wood recently relocated from Boston to Shanghai.) Wood’s design is a clever mixture of renovated old buildings and new construction imitating the style of shikumen, the gray brick town houses that were built in many Shanghai neighborhoods beginning in the eighteensixties. Three-story structures built along narrow alleys, with elaborate, stone-carved entries leading into small interior courtyards, shikumen—the term means “stone gate”—generally housed upper-middle-class families. (Under Communist rule, shikumen were converted to tenements, and as many as seven families were shoehorned into them.) Like many buildings in cosmopolitan Shanghai, a shikumen combines Asian and Western influences; it is a Chinese home with a Parisian sensibility, a hybrid form both delicate and monumental.

    Authentic shikumen never looked quite as polished as the ones in Xintiandi. Wood’s design seamlessly blends new architectural elements with original stone gates and carved lintels. To create a more open composition, Wood removed many of the crumbling houses on the site; of the houses that were kept, many had an outer wall or two replaced, and almost all the interiors were gut-renovated. The result is a cleaner and more orderly neighborhood, studded with public spaces that resemble Western piazzas. The architect also inserted large picture windows and glass storefronts into many of the original doorways, and created artful replicas of the narrow alleyways that provided the main circulation within shikumen complexes. It’s fun to wander through these synthetic labyrinths, shopping bags in hand.

    The building of Xintiandi required some awkward trade-offs. A large mansion in the neighborhood housed thirty families before the site’s developer, Shui On, took over the area; now the building has no tenants. The occupants were moved elsewhere—an easier matter in China than in New York. (In the end, more than two thousand families were relocated.) The developers then gave the mansion an exquisite restoration, turning it into what they call the clubhouse, which includes a conference center and a set of exclusive private dining rooms. Xintiandi’s success has also increased the value of land in the immediate area, making it more likely that the aging shikumen surrounding Wood’s ersatz neighborhood will be demolished. In time, the inauthentic may drive out the authentic altogether.

    Shanghai has only a few parks and public squares, and they tend to be clumsily conceived. In the center of the city, the crowded new Renmin Square, built on the site of a former racetrack, is dominated by the huge Shanghai Art Museum and the Grand Theatre, two banal modern buildings, and the green space is almost inconsequential. Streets in Chinese cities have traditionally been used for transport and commerce, not for social encounters. The emblematic user of the Chinese street is the woman who bargains at an open-air street market. Nothing seems less Chinese than the notion of the flâneur, of the street as a place in which to observe other people.

    Xintiandi has given the residents of Shanghai a place to experience the public realm as something pleasant. Moreover, it has encouraged them to acknowledge the affection they have for the historic parts of the city, even as bulldozers ruthlessly knock down one decaying neighborhood after another. In one section of Xintiandi, the developers built a full-size, painstakingly detailed shikumen for public display; it is furnished with antiques and artifacts that might have been owned by a typical Chinese family, and has rooms for a dowager grandmother, a married couple, children, and a boarder. The exhibit romantically proposes that the boarder—whose room is a small, dark chamber off a landing—is a struggling young writer.

    The inspiration for the Xintiandi project was a gray brick building, no larger than a house, sitting in the middle of the site; it is where the Chinese Communist Party originally met, in 1921. (Mao himself attended the first meeting.) Vincent Lo, the developer who runs Shui On, was told by government officials that the buildings adjacent to the old meeting place had to be maintained, and that none of the garish commercialism that marks most Chinese retail establishments would be permitted beside it. Lo sought the advice of Wood, who argued that there was a way to mix historic preservation and commercial real-estate development. If Mao’s old meeting hall had to remain untouched, Wood said, why not make older Chinese architecture the theme of the whole development?

    The banks and the government were initially wary of the project. “We wanted to create a mixed-use neighborhood, and we wanted to keep the streets walkable—it is not easy to do in China,” Albert Chan, a manager at Shui On, told me. “When we started this project, we showed it to people, and they said, ‘No Chinese will eat outside.’ But if you give them the right kind of place they will.”

    As in Xintiandi’s American counterparts, the crowds are a mixture of foreigners—it is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations—and locals. When the project opened, it was mostly expatriates visiting, Chan said. “Now more than half the people who visit are locals.” In this case, the locals tend to be members of China’s élite professional class; dinner for two at one of Xintiandi’s restaurants can easily cost sixty dollars or more, and a typical laborer’s daily wage is less than five dollars.

    Xintiandi is so successful that Shui On has been asked to replicate its formula elsewhere in China, and other developers are trying to build copycat projects. Christopher Choa, an American architect who lives in Shanghai, told me, “It has become a verb. Developers say to architects, ‘Can you Xintiandi this project for me?’ The young Chinese people come because they think it’s trendy, the foreigners come because they think it’s historically significant, and the old people come because they feel nostalgia.” Since Xintiandi opened, Shanghai has begun to preserve much more architecture than it ever did before. During the first forty years of Communist rule, the city’s main promenade, the Bund—a remarkable series of ornate stone office and bank buildings, many of them masterworks of Art Deco from the nineteen-twenties—fell into serious disrepair. But the area is now being restored, and it has become an extremely desirable address: one building, Three on the Bund, was renovated by Michael Graves and contains an Armani boutique, an Evian spa, and a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant.

    The Bund is Shanghai’s most Western cityscape and its most celebrated vista. It faces the Huangpu River, with the new sky line of Pudong, which didn’t exist fifteen years ago, on the other side, just as the old sky line of downtown Manhattan faces the new sky line of Jersey City across the Hudson. But this juxtaposition has even greater drama. The architecture of the Bund has always been thought of as a symbol of Western influence on Shanghai, which may be one of the reasons that these grand buildings were disdained for so many years. But now that they have been rediscovered they demonstrate how potent another Western idea has become here: old architecture is a very good way to make new money.

  12. #27
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    Good article that shows the 10 Amazing Architecture Wonders of the New China (including SWFC):

    http://images.businessweek.com/ss/05...s/index_01.htm

  13. #28
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    Can't wait for television coverage of the Beijing Olympics ... surely the Chinese will want the world to see all the new architectural "wonders".

    And I'm curious how NYC would have reacted to a stadium proposal if it had looked as good as this:

    Beijing Olympic Stadium


    image © Herzog and de Meuron

  14. #29
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    I it looks like and alien vagina or something the cat threw up.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    I it looks like and alien vagina or something the cat threw up.
    Plus it seems be held down by alien plant growth much like that seen in War of the Worlds.

    I must say, I've seen some bizarre archiecture, but this stadium truly tops the list for me.

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