The Oriental Pearl Tower is undoubtedly Shanghai’s most iconic landmark. Completed in 1994, it was also one of the first structures to be built on the Pudong side of Shanghai (ie- all the famous skyline images you see).
It has a love/hate relationship with most Shanghainese, and I certainly don’t know why exactly that certain color was picked, but at night it is spectacular. At 468m tall, it is currently the 5th largest tower in the world, with which you get some insane views of Lujiazui (downtown Pudong) and across the river of the Bund and the Puxi side of Shanghai…
I can’t recommend visiting the Pearl Tower enough, if for one simple reason: the view straight down through the glass floors at almost 300m up!
There is also an unusual exhibition located on the ground floor, as seen in the last few images… make sure to look through them all, there are some real gems in there!
Last Sunday [while it was snowing!] I went with my girl to hit up the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center (Official site / Frommer’s site), which is home to the largest to-scale city model in the world: Shanghai 2020!
I have always been a architecture fiend, and this was a hidden delight. Well, maybe not so hidden, as the Exhibition Center is located inside a massive modern building in the middle of People’s Square. 5 floors of exhibits chronicle the history and modernization of Shanghai, from the feudal dynasties (SH was a fishing village), to when the first Europeans arrived to trade (SH was a fishing village), through to today (when SH was a massive city), and on into the future (when SH turns into the worlds’ economic metropolis of the world (you heard it hear first!)).
Old photographs were what I found the most interesting, as the trasformation of this city is truly beyond words. Just look at the image of the Pudong skyline in my last post, when I was in Shanghai for the first time some 10 years ago, only 3-4 buildings were built (including the Pearl Tower), so I can only imagine what Shanghai will look like in another decade in 2020… oh wait nevermind, on the 5th floor they have the worlds largest to-scale city-model in the world: Shanghai 2020!
The center obviously showcases much about the upcoming Shanghai Expo, and I can’t wait to see some of the structures they are planning to build, truly remarkable stuff. Still can’t decide which one I will like more… Thomas Heatherwick’s UK Pavilion (consisting of 60,000 transparent rods) or the Switzerland Pavilion by Buchner Bründler Architects (which has a ski lift through, over, and around it -no I am not joking).