Tag Archives: Tower

The great impersonator

Sports, music dan traveling are three things Laurentius T. Pesik like most. He excels in event organizing and works in Jakarta. He nurtured the love of mountain hiking in his formative years. Forming a group of hikers, he and friends eagerly searched for quite and cold places on higher altitudes. His goal is to reach every summit of the mountains he climbed and posed those proud moments in front of a camera. Now he thinks about sharing other no-less appealing photos down the city streets.

Tokyo Tower (4)

The capital city of Japan has shown that being number two does not mean losing out. A famous expression said imitation is the best form of flattery. But in Tokyo’s case, especially during the rapid post-war rebuilding and modernisation, an inspiration taken from another established city icon was the center of the people’s delight.

Even to those who are not aware of history, it is not beyond imagination that Tokyo Tower took inspiration from Paris city icon of the 19th century, the Eiffel Tower.

Constructed in late 50s, more than ten years after their unconditional surrender in World War II, the then turned pacifist country amassed their strength to get over the haunting past and start rebuilding the cities.

It aimed to be higher than the tower it was remodeled from. In its completion in 1958, with 13 meters height difference, it claimed the title of the world’s tallest free-standing structure.

They did not turn inward for introspection to create a modern symbol of this new energy. Instead, the Japanese willingness to embrace western influence and resulting in dramatic socio-economic changes like what they had shown during the Meiji Restoration era had repeated again.

But in post-war era, Japan heightened their take on western influence to a new level, more than knowledge, modernity, or the world view, but also the culture.

Were they lost in anxiety for modernisation? The tower has appeared in many fictionals, creative products, and a major vista in travel guide to Tokyo.

The project redesign of Shanghai World Financial Center

World Trade Center Shanghai

Nicknamed Bottle Opener, the trapezoid aperture at the top of the WTC skyscraper in Shanghai was originally designed in circular. But halfway up the construction, the city mayor and some residents stated their objection in what they deemed a semblance of Japan’s state symbol.

In 2005 KPF eventually got approval in a redesign submission, concluding the sentiment-fueled victory of the Chinese citizens over their ghost of the past, but on the flip side exacerbated the delay, already caused by the 1997 Asian monetary crisis, to 11 years in total to complete the then tallest building in China at 492 m.

The 9/11 effect on Shanghai tower construction

Besides the change of height from the initial plan 460 m, another cause of delay, in concern of design, was implicated by the post 9/11 scare which had pushed the engineers to come up with some desperate measures to plane crash scenario, such as adding 12 fireproof refugee areas and external elevators.

It was said that trapezoid was chosen because it is the most reasonable in terms of price, but rendering an extra cost at no less than USD200 million, adding a total cost of over USD850 million funded by an international consortium of 36 companies.

Although seven years later the twister-like Shanghai Tower would surpassed it by contrast height at 632 m in 2015, the World Financial Center still pride itself until today for the title the best skycraper built in 2008 for its simplicity in structural design.

It has also become one of the prized achievement for Kohn Pedersen Fox, an American-based architect firm widely accredited for supertall works whose first project was a conservation project of ABD Armory Building in New York, 1978.

Japanese developer Mori Building, whose first project in Shanghai was the HSBC tower, then named it on its completion in 1998 as Shanghai Mori International Tower, and whose president Minoru Mori considered Shanghai to have more vitality than Beijing, began the monumental work in 1997 at Lujiazui, the epicenter of Shanghai modern cityscape. Some said that he made the decision after the completion of Oriental Pearl TV & Radio Tower in 1994.