Last month, the developers and designers of the nearly-a-decade-in-the-making Shanghai World Financial Center (WFC) skyscraper in Pudong caved in to pressure from China’s Japan haters and announced they had made alterations to the planned appearance of the building, which will be one of the world’s tallest if it ever gets completed. Most notable among the changes — the large circular hole that was to cut through the building’s top floors was replaced by a large trapezoidal hole (uh oh, murderous cult alert). Some had complained that the circle design looked too much like the “rising sun” image from Japan’s flag, especially considering the WFC’s developer, Mori Building, hails from Tokyo. (Of course, the building’s designers Kohn Pederson Fox — three decidedly un-Japanese names — don’t have offices in Tokyo, opting instead for three other powder kegs of anti-China sentiment: New York, London and, er, Shanghai.)
While Eugene Kohn admitted there was “sensitivity” over the original plans — which, he said, were influenced by the moon gate, a circular gateway used in traditional Chinese gardens — Minor Mori said that the controversy was not the reason for the redesign. He said that the circle look had simply “lost its freshness.” The WFC, located behind the Jinmao Tower, has been in the works since the mid-90s, but the project was shelved between 1997 and 2003 because of the Asian financial crisis. It is scheduled for completion in 2008.
Shanghaiist realizes that this story is a couple weeks old, but forgive us — we’ve been busy Japan-proofing our apartment, ridding it of all circular objects so that we don’t offend any of our Chinese guests. Check us out on eBay soon: all DVDs, bowls and woks must go!
Emporis has a long list of facts about the WFC project. Skyscraperpage has some pretty cool diagrams that compare the WFC with other tall buildings in Shanghai, China and everywhere else. Actually, looking at the diagram, we are reminded that Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower has not one, but three “rising suns” affixed to it! Get out the wrecking ball! Wait, are we allowed to use wrecking balls in China now? Or any other circular objects for that matter? Dammit! This is not going to be easy …