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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

This Is Definitely Illegal And Definitely Insane. I Just Can’t Believe These Guys Really Do This [VIDEO]

Pair climb 650 metres to top of skyscraper and beyond, giving them an extraordinary view of fast-growing city. 

No matter how many pamphlets and press releases the Shanghai Tower can muster, it may never receive a greater PR boon than that provided by the two camera-wielding Russian daredevils who recently donned black hoodies and illicitly scaled its roof.

Since the pair, Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov, posted a video of their ascent to Youtube on Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of viewers have learned two things about the tower: one, that it's the world's second tallest building, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai; and two, that this makes it frighteningly, vertiginously tall.

The 632-metre Shanghai Tower (the pair climbed a further 18 metres up a crane on its roof) has been under construction in Shanghai's Lujiazui district, a gleaming financial centre directly across from the city's famous Bund, since 2008. It's set for completion later this year.

In the 1980s, Lujiazui was little more than a swath of grassy fields. Now it's a forest of skyscrapers.

It's difficult to glean from the video, in which the two men sneak into a poorly lit building site and climb up unadorned concrete stairs, but the tower is designed to be a sort of urban Elysium, packed with luxury hotels, offices and retail space. A slideshow on the website of Gensler, the American architecture firm behind the project, shows illustrations of the finished product, its glass-and-steel shell twisting up towards the sky like a giant cannolo.

Gensler calls the tower a "super-highrise precinct" – a series of individual neighbourhoods strewn over 142 vertically stacked acres, equivalent to nearly 80 football pitches. Each will surround a "light-filled garden atrium" designed, apparently, to "foster community and support daily life". The building twists through 120 degrees from its base to its top, helping it withstand the city's notoriously strong winds. Its elevators are designed to move at nearly 40mph.

Altogether, the stunt took the two men about 20 hours to complete, although the actual ascent took just two. They entered the tower under cover of dark, scaled the rooftop crane at daybreak, exchanged a high five – and then waited around for the light to improve, so they could best record the views down over the tops of the building's closest neighbours: the Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Centre, rising above a thin cloud cover.

The Shanghai Tower will be an amazing building, if Gensler's plans hold true. But at that moment at the summit, one imagines, innovative architectural design felt as distant to the men as the ethereal cityscape below.

The Russian duo posted photos and a write-up of their stunt on Live Journal :

''Hello all from the world's biggest city – Shanghai. For about a month Raskalov Vitaliy and I are in China. I already have quite a bit stories to tell about where we have been and what we have seen, but you will read about it in my next post.

I dreamed to visit Shanghai for a while. One of the main sights for us was Shanghai tower, a huge skyscraper in the city center, which currently is under construction. The height of it will be 632 meters. When the construction will be completed, the tower will become the highest building in China and world’s second high building after Burj Khalifa (if not to mention TV tower in Tokyo, which is only 2 meters higher).

Ten days ago, during the celebration of Chinese New Year, the entire country was resting – all the people had vacations, so as the builders. Everybody was squibbing in their neighborhoods and enjoying the holidays. For us, it was perfect time to climb the tower and a crane jib above it (the highest point is about 650 meters).''

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