Press Releases

Jin Mao Tower, China's First Supertall, Celebrates 20th Anniversary

This year, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai celebrates 20 years of operation. The groundbreaking skyscraper, which officially opened in 1999, continues to influence high-rise design around the world. With a name that translates to "golden prosperity" in Chinese, the tower reveals many design features that reflect the culture's auspicious number eight, from its octagon-shaped core to its 88 floors.

At the time of its completion, the 420-meter-tall tower became China’s tallest building. With a form inspired by traditional Chinese pagodas and a distinctive rhythmic pattern created by a series of setbacks, it has since become one of the country's most iconic and a model for high-rise design around the world. 

To honor the significant milestone, the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), together with Jin Mao Hotel Investments and Management, held a forum on technological innovation in high-rise construction on Wednesday, August 28th. Designers and engineers from leading firms gathered to discuss Jin Mao's innovative design and its enduring appeal, as well as contemporary issues in high-rise construction, including tall building management and operation, sustainability, and performance-based design. In a presentation titled “Jin Mao Tower: 20 Years of Inspired Innovation,” Structural and Seismic Engineering Partner Mark Sarkisian shared insight on the impact of the building. The event, also attended by Managing Partner Xuan Fu and Director of Sustainable Engineering Luke Leung, concluded with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque made by CTBUH to mark the anniversary.

Now the third-tallest building in Shanghai, Jin Mao Tower continues to attract tourists and architecture enthusiasts. Daring patrons can "wander in the cloud" via a 60-meter-long glass skywalk without rails located at the 88th floor. Here, they are greeted with sweeping views of the Huangpu River and Shanghai skyline. At ground level, visitors can explore an illustrated history of Chinese calligraphy in the landscaped courtyard and lobby, where inscriptions on a collection of ancient objects trace the development of the written form. 

Jin Mao Tower is home to a 555-room Grand Hyatt Hotel on the top 38 floors, and offices on the lower 50. A six-story podium holds a conference and exhibition center, a cinema, and 20,000 square meters of retail space. In addition to referencing Chinese history, the landscaped courtyard features seating and a reflective pool that encircles the tower’s base, offering visitors a peaceful respite from Shanghai’s busy streets.

Advanced structural engineering techniques protect the building from the typhoons and earthquakes typical of the area. The structure’s metal-and-glass curtain wall reflects the city’s constantly changing skies, while at night the tower shaft and crown are illuminated.

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is an influential collective of architects, designers, engineers and planners, responsible for some of the world’s most technically and environmentally advanced buildings, and significant public spaces. From a strategic regional plan to a single piece of furniture, SOM's designs anticipate change in the way we live, work and communicate, and have brought lasting value to communities around the world. The firm's approach is highly collaborative, and its interdisciplinary team is engaged on a wide range of international projects, with creative studios based across the globe.