It only took photographer Joe Nafis 1,000 hours to make.

Joe Nafis, a Californian living in China, has a great view from various perches of China’s tallest building, the Shanghai Tower. But just as important he has patience, allowing the creation of this splendid time-lapse footage of the building going from gaping abscess to twisty, moon-poking immensity.

At 2,073 feet tall, the just-finished tower is the second-highest skyscraper on the planet, behind Dubai’s 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa. The thing is so big it’s been sliced into nine “vertical neighborhoods” studded with shops, hotels, restaurants, and offices. However, reaching the top takes less than a minute thanks to what’s billed as the world’s fastest elevator, which zooms along at 40 miles per hour.

Nafis writes 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.” Here’s more from the photographer:

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.

H/t Shanghaiist

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Bicycle riders on a package-blocked bicycle lane
    Perspective

    Why Do Micromobility Advocates Have Tiny-Demand Syndrome?

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  2. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  3. A photo of an abandoned building in Providence, Rhode Island.
    Perspective

    There's No Such Thing as a Dangerous Neighborhood

    Most serious urban violence is concentrated among less than 1 percent of a city’s population. So why are we still criminalizing whole areas?

  4. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  5. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

×