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Skyscraper of the Day: Meet The Jin Mao Tower

Jin Mao Tower is a 420.5-meter-tall (1,380 ft), 88-story (93 if counting the floors in the spire) landmark skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai, China. At its completion in 1999 it was the tallest building in China. Today it is part of the world’s first trio of adjacent super tall skyscrapers along with the Shanghai Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Despite being overtaken twice in height, it still remains one of China’s most iconic buildings.

The building was designed by internationally renowned firm Skidmore, Owings and Merril and recalls the forms of historic pagodas. The traditional inspiration plays dynamically with a postmodern form, evoking the architecture of the traditional Chinese pagoda staggered to create a rhythmic pattern while growing in height. Like the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the proportions of the building center around the number 8, associated with prosperity in Chinese culture. The number 8 in Buddhism is a lucky number, associated with prosperity, economy, gold and trade.

The 88 floors are divided into 16 segments, each of which is 1/8 shorter than the 16-story base. The tower is built around an octagon-shaped concrete shear wall core surrounded by 8 exterior composite supercolumns and 8 exterior steel columns. Three sets of 8 two-story high outrigger trusses connect the columns to the core at six of the floors to provide additional support.

A 555-room Grand Hyatt Hotel, offering impressive views of the city and surrounding terrain, occupies the top 38 floors, while offices make up the lower 50. A six-story podium contains a conference and exhibition center, a cinema, and 20,000 square meters of retail space. A landscaped courtyard with seating and a reflective pool encircles the tower’s base, offering visitors peaceful respite from Shanghai’s busy streets.

Advanced structural engineering techniques protect the building from the typhoons and earthquakes typical of the area. The exterior curtain wall is made of glass, stainless steel, aluminum, and granite, and is crossed by a complex latticework cladding made of aluminum alloy tubes, which reflects the city’s constantly changing skies, while at night the tower shaft and crown are illuminated.