Does the world really need another super-tall skyscraper? Probably not, but that’s certainly
not stopping China (or the UAE, for that matter). Over two decades from its first conception and nearly eight years since
its ground-breaking, the staggering 632-metres Shanghai Tower
opening to the public. It’s in 'soft-opening' to start, with access to the
viewing platform on the 119th floor available only through select
tour companies now and a full-fledged opening to the general public expected
for late June or early July.
If you’re into superlatives, this 127-floor
monster has got you covered. It’s China’s tallest building – second in the
world after Dubai’s 828-metre Burj Khalifa – and lays claim to the world’s
. Once everything has opened, it’ll have the world’s highest
restaurant, highest hotel lobby, highest swimming pool with a view, highest
wind turbines, highest… okay, you get it. All provided someone else doesn't one up them, of course. (And, in Obscure Fact of the Day, it’s
also the first high-rise to have a cloud computing system.)
We go down before we go up, taking an escalator
to the basement of the building where we pass through security.
hall actually has quite nicely presented bilingual displays about Shanghai and
skyscrapers. There’s multimedia wall with images, videos and 3D holographs
(kitsch FTW) about Shanghai’s skyline, architecture and Lujiazui. Opposite
that, running the length of the wall, there’s a two-minute, time-lapse video
showing the Pudong skyline from 1840 to the present. Definitely the kind of
thing you’d expect to be tacky as hell, but it’s very well done and quite
captivating. In fact, this is the case with the exhibits on the whole.
are scale models of the world’s tallest buildings with interactive screens and
illustrated displays on everything skyscraper – how tall buildings are
measured, the difference between ‘supertall’ and ‘megatall’ buildings and of
course, everything you’d want to know and more about Shanghai Tower. Whatever
the final ticket price may be (likely around 180RMB), this mini-skyscraper
museum should make it worth it.
On to the 119th floor. Daaaaamn,
those elevators are fast. We hit 18
metres per second and make it up in less than a minute.
Before we get up there, the difference
between a viewing platform on the 100th floor of Shanghai World Financial Center and on the 119th floor at
Shanghai Tower seems negligible. When you’re looking down on the SWFC, it does
We’re not even that into heights and there is something indescribably
powerful about being the tallest around. Although Dubai's Burj Khalifa is nearly 200 metres taller than Shanghai Tower, the observation deck is lower, making this the world's highest. The Oriental Pearl Television Tower is
tiny, and everything in Puxi is basically 2D.
The whole floor is open to
wandering, so you can get the full 360-view. Even without great visibility, we
nab some killer Instagram shots – arguably worth the ticket price alone.
If you want to catch the views from
Shanghai Tower during this blissfully uncrowded, soft-opening, Bespoke Shanghai
can hook you up. They offer access as part of their custom-designed half-day
and full-day tours, starting from 2,000RMB for groups of up to eight people.
Otherwise, we’ll keep you posted on the official summer opening to the public.