And has no handrails.
Glass walkway sits on Shanghai’s third tallest building
The glass walkway accommodates a mere 15 people at a time and is staffed by two attendants. Visitors are allowed to spend 30 minutes on the walkway, and although there are no handrails between you and the rest of the world, you’ll be wearing a harness that connects you to an overhead rail. You can move freely on the walkway, and the whole heart-stopping mess will only set you back about USD$60. That includes access to the observation deck, as well as the cost to access the platform.
The Jinmao Tower is an 88-story affair, and already hits the record books as the third-tallest building in Shanghai. It’s also the 18th tallest building in the world. For what it’s worth, the glass walkway isn’t at the very top of the building, but it is the highest rail-free walkway in the world. The building has other observation decks, but those are not open to the general public. The Jinmao Tower walkway is less than five feet wide, so visitors will get an up-close and personal experience with the ledge, whether they want to or not!
The Jinmao Tower was constructed in 1999, and was the first super skyscraper in the city. Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) of Chicago, the Jinmao Tower makes heavy use of glass, and is characteristically geometric. The building is wind, monsoon and earthquake resistant, and features a swimming pool on the 57th floor. The pool is more than just entertainment. It helps damper the natural motion of the building. Jinmao Tower was dedicated on August 28, 1998 (8/28/98), an auspicious date in China, but was not fully operational until 1999.
The building features shops, restaurants, office space and hotel space. Like many SOM buildings, the Jinmao Tower is column-free to increase available floor space. The building has been scaled at least twice by freehand climbers. Both climbers were arrested. One, a Chinese national was jailed for about two weeks. The other, famed urban climber Alain Robert, was arrested, jailed for 5 days, then expelled from the country. (If you’re planning to visit China, don’t scale the Jinmao Tower. The building has an elevator that will take you from the basement all the way to the top in just 45 seconds.)
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Photo Credit: mifl68, via Flickr.com