Skyline Blog

About Skyscrapers

Jin Mao Tower – Housing the Highest Hotel on Earth

Posted by Jae on January 12, 2009

Jin Mao Tower

Jin Mao Tower

The Jin Mao Tower is a 1998 completed, 530 million 1998 US dollar, 88-story, 421 m landmark skyscraper in Shanghai, China. It contains offices and the Shanghai Grand Hyatt hotel. Currently it is the 2nd tallest skyscraper in Shanghai and 8th tallest in the world.

Its postmodern form, whose complexity rises as it ascends, draws on traditional Chinese architecture such as the tiered pagoda, gently stepping back to create a rhythmic pattern as it rises. The building’s proportions revolve around the number 8, associated with prosperity in Chinese culture. The 88 floors are divided into 16 segments, each of which is 1/8th shorter than the 16-story base. The tower is built around an octagon-shaped concrete shear wall core surrounded by 8 exterior composite super columns 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.

The building employs an advanced structural engineering system of wind and earthquake engineering which fortify it against typhoon winds of up to 200 km/h and earthquakes of up to 7 on the Richter scale. The steel shafts have shear joints that act as shock absorbers to cushion the lateral forces imposed by winds and quakes, and the swimming pool on the 57th floor is said to act as a passive damper. Official dedication was August 28, 1998, a date also chosen with the number 8 in mind.

At the base, there is a 6-story podium which houses the Hyatt’s conference and banquet facilities as well as a shopping mall, restaurants, and nightclubs. The building’s anchor tenant is the five-star, 555-room Shanghai Grand Hyatt hotel which occupies floors 53 to 87. It is the highest hotel in the world in terms of distance from the ground; however the tallest building to be used exclusively as a hotel is the Burj Al Arab in Dubai (excluding the taller Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea which was never fully completed and in use). Additionally, the world’s longest laundry chute runs down the full length of the tower to the basement, and incorporates buffers to slow down the laundry during its descent.

The 88th floor (not part of the hotel) houses the Skywalk, a 1,520 m2 indoor observation deck. In addition to the panoramic views of Shanghai, it offers a topside view of the hotel atrium below. Access is through two express elevators from the basement that travel at 9.1m/s and take 45 seconds to reach the top.


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