10 Fascinating Facts About The Jin Mao Tower

Did you know that a fascinating megatall skyscraper in Shanghai (above 300 meters / 984.3 feet) is dwarfed by two bigger brothers that are located just next to it?

Let’s take a closer look at some interesting facts about the Jin Mao Tower, an incredible skyscraper in a Chinese city with arguably the most amazing skyline in the world!

1. It’s located in the most famous district of Shanghai

The Jin Mao Tower is one of the 3 supertall skyscrapers that dominate the Lujiazui skyline in the Pudong District of Shanghai in eastern China. The other two are the Shanghai Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center.

Another famous landmark in the city is located nearby as well, namely one of the most iconic towers in the world called the Oriental Pearl Tower, a radio and television tower situated at the banks of the Huangpu River.

Pudong is the traditional east bank district of the river flowing through central Shanghai and is located right across the historic city center. Its skyline is one of the most famous in the world, and who can deny that, right?

Shanghai Pudong
View of Pudong / Wiki Commons

2. It’s the shortest of the 3 megatall skyscrapers in the area

The tower features 88 occupied floors, excluding the 5 floors of its spire, and stands 420.5 meters (1,380 feet) tall. This would be by far the tallest building in most cities in the world, but not in Shanghai, and not even in Pudong!

It’s actually the shortest of the 3 megatall skyscrapers in the area as the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Shanghai Tower stand 492 meters (1,614.2 feet) and 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall respectively. The Shanghai Tower is even the second-tallest building in the world as only Burj Khalifa in Dubai is taller at the time of writing this post (April 2021).

It’s shorter than the Oriental Pearl Tower as well which reaches a height of 467.9 meters (1,535 feet). Regardless, this amazing skyscraper is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, especially at night when its crown is illuminated!

top of jinmao tower at night
Top of the tower at night / Patrick Nagel / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

3. The tower held two amazing records upon completion

The tower was the first of the 3 megatall skyscrapers to be completed as its construction started in 1994, remarkably the year that the Oriental Pearl Tower was completed.

Upon completion in 1999, it was the tallest building in China (and that means something). It held this record for 8 years when it was surpassed by the building standing right next to it as it topped out in 2007, the SWFC, easily recognizable as it has the shape of a giant bottle opener.

The second amazing record it held upon completion is that the Hyatt Hotel on the top floors was officially the highest in the world.

Jinmao tower aerial view
View from the SWFC / Gino Mmepin / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

4. It was designed by a Chicago-based architectural company

The tower was designed by a Chicago-based firm named Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, a leading global architectural firm that has been involved in some of the most notable projects in the world.

Some of these projects include the Willis Tower and John Hancock Center, two of the most famous attractions in Chicago, and One World Trade Center in New York City, the tallest skyscraper in NYC and all of the United States!

Jin Mao Tower design
Looking up the amazing tower / Marmotta666 / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

5. The tower’s name is referenced in its design

The Jin Mao Tower is also sometimes referred to as the “Jinmao Building” or “Jinmao Tower” and has a special name. It translates to “Golden Prosperity Tower,” and this reference has been integrated into the tower’s design.

It was built in a postmodern design but also integrates traditional Chinese architecture into it in the form of a tiered pagoda. In that sense, it kind of resembles Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

Another important element with regards to the tower’s design is the number 8, a number associated with prosperity in Chinese numerology. This is similar to the philosophy of the design of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

These are some of the many references made to the number 8:

  • The tower has 88 floors.
  • There are 16 segments and each is 1/8 shorter than the 16-story base of the tower.
  • The core shear wall of the tower is octagonal-shaped.
  • The core is surrounded by 8 exterior concrete super columns.
  • The core is further supported by 8 exterior steel columns.
  • The exterior elements are connected to the core with 8 two-story trusses.
Jin Mao Tower facts
Detail of the top section / Martin Howard / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

6. Massive steel piles are providing stability for the building

Serious efforts were made to provide stability for this huge building, mainly because the soil in the area isn’t exactly suited to provide the stability needed.

Therefore, massive steel piles were driven into the ground on all sides. These piles reach a depth of 83.5 meters (274 feet), which made them the biggest steel piles used for any building in the world at that time in the late 20th century.

These piles are connected to a concrete raft that has a thickness of 4 meters (13.12 feet) and is located 19.6 meters (64 feet) below the ground.

This giant concrete raft is then further stabilized with a 1-meter thick slurry wall which contains a total of 20,500 cubic meters (720,000 cubic feet) of concrete.

Jin Mao Tower base
Detail of the tower’s base / Tim Sheerman-Chase / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

7. An unlikely feature in the tower provides additional stability

The solid foundation on which the building was constructed provides enough stability to protect it from typhoon winds of up to 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph).

Earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale shouldn’t be a problem as well as the tower would only sway about 75 centimeters (30 inches) near the top.

Regardless, an additional stability feature was integrated to provide additional stability, and we’re not talking about a massive damper. This feature is the hotel’s swimming pool on the 57th floor, which means it has a dual purpose, entertainment, and a structural element of the building!

Jin Mao Tower fun facts
The tower and the SWFC / Erwin / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

8. The top floors are occupied by a popular Shanghai hotel

Is there a better place to stay for the night in Shanghai than the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Jin Mao Tower? We doubt it very much you’ll find many!

This 5-star hotel occupies floors 53 to 87 of the tower and is one of the highest hotels in the world. One higher is the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong which occupies floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Center in that city.

If you want to find a higher hotel, you don’t have to look very far as well because floors 79 to 93 of the building next door (the SWFC) are occupied by the Shanghai Park Hyatt Hotel.

Jinmao Tower top and SWFC
Top floors with SWFC in the background / Wiki Commons

9. The hotel features one of the most amazing atriums in the world

Perhaps one of the most amazing facts about the Jin Mao Tower is that the Grand Hyatt Hotel features one of the most astounding atriums in the world.

This barrel-vaulted atrium runs all the way from the 56th to the 87th floor and has a total height of 115 meters (377 feet). It’s flanked by corridors and staircases were designed to spiral upwards.

Remarkably, this isn’t even the tallest atrium in the world as the tallest can be found in the amazing Burj al-Arab Hotel in Dubai.

Jinmao Tower hotel atrium
Atrium of the hotel / James Creegan / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

10. The observation deck provides amazing views of Shanghai

The observation deck in the tower is referred to as the “Skywalk” and is one of the best places in Shanghai to get stunning views of the city at a height of 340.1 meters (1,116 feet) above the ground.

Obviously, the decks in the other two towers nearby are higher, providing even better views, but the Skywalk has two amazing features.

It’s an indoor deck covering an area of 1,520 square meters (16,400 square feet) and allows you to get amazing views of the city of Shanghai, as well as stunning views of the atrium of the hotel when looking down below.

The makes the Skywalk in the Jin Mao Tower a must-do attraction on your Shanghai bucket list!

View from Jin Mao Tower
View from the Skywalk / Stefan Fussan / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en