Towering above this city of 24 million people at 632m (2,073 feet), the Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and 2nd tallest in the world, only surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Its 128 stories are divided into 9 vertical zones, including retail at the base, offices in the middle, hotels and observation decks at the top. The super-tall skyscraper features a double-decker elevator that offers the longest single elevator journey in the world at 580m (1,900 feet) in under a minute.
Beginning in the early '90s with the allocation of Lujiazui as a special investment zone, Shanghai's skyline has grown to be one of the world's most iconic. With three buildings over 420m (1,380 feet), Lujiazui today stands in stark contrast to what it was just 25 years ago, a low-built area consisting of residences, warehouses and a few factories. The completion of the Shanghai Tower not only represents the financial success of Shanghai, it symbolizes China's new self-confidence and the shift in the global balance of economic power.
Construction had already begun when I arrived in the city in 2009. The site was a large hole in the ground with construction crews milling around pouring concrete for the base. I began exploring the city looking for views and locations that would serve as groundwork for this video. In 2011, I secured a location with unobstructed views of Lujiazui where I could just glimpse the tower peeking behind the 185m (607 feet) Aurora Plaza. I maintained a camera there for the next 4 years until the tower was completed. In the meantime I took hundreds of thousands of photos from various viewpoints around the city filling up around 8TB in the process. In all, over 1000 hours were dedicated to this project in exploring, shooting and post-processing. I used a variety of Canon cameras, lenses and motion control equipment to shoot. LRTimelapse (lrtimelapse.com) was used for de-flickering while Adobe After Effects and Premiere were used for editing.
Time-lapse: Joe Nafis (joenafis.com)
Aerial footage: Livinov Lalama and Stan Huang
Grading: Nikola Stefanovich (becolour.com.au)
Music: "Skyline" by Fakear (fakear.com)