Jin Mao Building
(3 million ft2)
Shanghai, China (1998)
1,380 feet, 88 stories, 420.6 meters
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Architect and Engineer. Shanghai Construction Group Consortium, Contractor. China Shanghai Foreign Trade Company, Ltd., Developer and Current Owner.

Completed in April 1999, The Jin Mao Building is China's tallest, the world's third tallest, and the last Jumbo of the 20th Century. With an east-meets-west design signifying Shanghai's emergence as a modern global city, Jin Mao follows the multi-use paradigm, offering retail at its base, offices above, and the Grand Hyatt's World's Highest Hotel occupying the upper 38 floors.

Commissioned in 1993 to serve as the project's architects and engineers, the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, led by partner Adrian Smith, confronted several challenges in China's first supertall structure. The absence of municipal codes governing high-rise construction necessitated the firm's close affiliation with many local agencies and international consultants. This collaborative process is evident in the final product, which combines western building standards with eastern aesthetics.

The Chinese lucky number eight figures prominently into the tower's composition. The mind-bending mathematics of Jin Mao's stepped-back form is best explained by the firm: _Each segment's height is reduced by one-eighth of the original base heiht and continues until the segment height is eight levels. At this point the Hotel begins and each segment reduces one-eighth of the 8-level segment until it reaches the 88th level._ Eights also appear in Jin Mao's advanced structural engineering system which fortifies the building against the typhoon winds and earthquakes typical of the region. The composite steel-and-concrete structure features eight mega columns of concrete and eight of steel situated around the tower's concrete core.

Photo courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill