Earlier this week, scaffolding was set up around the Huzhu Tower in Shanghai’s Songjiang District. The building reportedly leans at 7.1 degrees, considerably more than the nearly 4-degree tilt of Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, as well as the 5.2-degree tilt of the Tower of Suurhusen in Germany (below).
Unsurprisingly, the seven-story Buddhist pagoda was not meant to lean. According to ancient text, an army officer called Zhou Wenda built the Huzhu Tower in 1157, and it began tilting over the years because the foundations were built on mud, according to Shanghai Daily.
The foundation problems were compounded in 1788 when the tower was badly damaged from a blaze caused by fireworks (locals claim it was later bombarded by Japanese soldiers during WWII). The Shanghai government launched a plan to stabilize the structure and added it to the city’s protected cultural relics in the 1980s, which was around the last time the tower was measured. It now leans 0.58 degrees more.
Currently the Huzhu Tower is being monitored by the Shanghai Jianwei Architecture Preservation Engineering Technology Co. together with the Shanghai Cultural Relics Bureau. The groups plan to draw up a long-term preservation plan for the structure.
[Image via Shanghai Daily // Wikipedia]