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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Skyscraper Museum: CHINA PROPHECY WALKTHROUGH

Make sure when you're there to order the Bim Sum. It's delicious

The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

HOME > EXHIBITIONS > CHINA PROPHECY

Installation Walkthrough





German-born Jakob Montrasio currently lives in Shanghai, working as a photographer and cinematographer. The Skyscraper Museum discovered his photographs of Shanghai skyscrapers on Flickr and contacted Montrasio, who then volunteered to reshoot the towers with high-resolution equipment. All of the eleven-foot photo murals in the exhibition are his work.

Also for the Museum, in 2009, he created a 20-minute video odyssey of Shanghai's streets and highways. The film was shot from a bus deck and the sidecar of a Changjiang Motor Bike. The extraordinary floating quality of the film was achieved with an arm extension and stabilizer through a car's sunroof as he documented the street life and changing architecture of Shanghai's vibrant and diverse neighborhoods.

Video: Jakob Montrasio (2009)


Shanghai today is a vast metropolis, physically transformed by the twin emblems of the modern city, high-rises and highways. In the historic core, Puxi, skyscrapers of 30 to 60+ stories have replaced traditional lane housing and low-rise neighborhoods. In the new district of Pudong, on the east side of the Huangpu River, a master plan dictates taller towers rising from open green space. The climax of the Pudong skyline is a trio of iconic supertalls: Jin Mao, Shanghai World Financial Center, and Shanghai Tower (2014), expected to reach 632 meters to become the tallest building in China and second tallest in the world.

The scale and speed of Shanghai's rise reproduces and even surpasses Manhattan's historic ascent in the early twentieth century. As the world's largest city in 1930, New York boasted a population of nearly 7 million and some 200 skyscrapers --more than all other cities combined at that time. Today, as high-rises proliferate everywhere, Hong Kong holds the title with 7,200. Still ascending, though, Shanghai is surely China's prophecy of the urban future.


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Chinese cities are required by law to set up a comprehensive planning system and to create a master plan. Since all urban land is the property of the state and is leased for development, both land-use decisions and government revenues depend on the planning process.

The best place to fathom Shanghai's ambitious master plan and to comprehend the sprawling city is at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, a monumental museum building in People's Square. The major feature among many displays is a 8,000 sq. ft. city model at 1:200 scale that includes thousands of existing buildings, as well as those approved for future construction. The immense model can be viewed at ground level or from a mezzanine above. Another highlight is Virtual Shanghai, a computer-generated flyover of the idealized city projected onto a 360-degree screen.

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