Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 Jin Mao Technical Tour
Congress Technical Tour

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See the report on the 9th World Congress Shanghai

September 20, 2012
Jeff Herzer, CTBUH Special Media Correspondent

View in Chinese (中文版本)
SHANGHAI - By the time our group took the technical tour of Jin Mao on Day 2 of the Shanghai World Congress, many of us had already gotten to know the building as guests of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  The tour was one dimension of a larger experience, the lifestyle of living and working within one supertall building.  I remember how this futuristic lifestyle was touted as a feature of Chicago’s John Hancock Center when it opened in 1970, a building with offices on its lower floors and apartments, a grocery and a swimming pool on its upper floors. I had long wondered what this lifestyle would be like. A multi-day stay at Jin Mao offered us this perspective.
The entrance to the Jin Mao Building

From the Ground, Up

There is much more attention given nowadays to how tall buildings meet the ground, much more so than in the days of the Hancock Center. Jin Mao’s base makes great accommodation to passengers debarking from vehicles, with entry portals on three sides with wide driveways; two of the portals serve office space, the third services the Hyatt Hotel. Pedestrian pathways are sparse and there is little physical and visual separation from the driveway, meaning you must watch carefully for traffic when navigating these sides of the building on foot.
Office space (International Grade-A) takes up floors 3 through 50, which are divided into five sections: floors 3 to 6, 7 to 17, 18 to 29, 30 to 40 and 41 to 50. The technical tour included a visit to one of the specially reinforced and protected “refuge rooms” to be used by office tenants in case of a fire or other emergency. Another tour stop was the 800-space underground parking garage for office tenants. The Shanghai Grand Hyatt occupies floors 53 to 87.

Jin Mao Building, former tallest in China
My room was on floor 72, just more than halfway up the famous barrel-vaulted atrium at the center of Jin Mao’s 33 upper floors. Once out of the lift and past the floor’s elevator lobby, guests encounter the atrium on the other side of a handrail and walk the inner perimeter of the atrium to their room. Views of the Huangpu River and The Bund (old Shanghai) to the west are coveted, but I was very happy with my view to the east and our neighbor, the Shanghai World Financial Center, immediately across the street.
Grand Hyatt atrium
"Skywalk" viewing platform into atrium
Our tour was treated to a visit to Jin Mao’s “Skywalk” public observatory on the 88th floor. Unlike observatories in more box-shaped buildings, this space is a wonder of angles and notches from Jin Mao’s complex façade, as well as steel support members for the crown of the building. A unique round viewing platform at the center of the floor gives visitors a look straight down into the Hyatt’s atrium.
Delegates meet with the building owners in their offices
The tour concluded with a visit to the 8th floor offices of the building owner, the China Jin Mao Group, and with company representatives that included the building’s manager. Having opened in 1999, Jin Mao is a building with an operational history of more than a decade. Building systems remain in excellent condition, but there are always challenges in serving both tenants and the public. Office tenants may request between-floor access to their space. There is also the issue of allowing hotel guests to get to the observation deck on 88. Right now, elevator banks go from 1 to 54, 54 to 85 and 85 to 87.
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