Shanghai is China’s largest city, comparable to New York or Tokyo, and in recent decades it has experienced a building boom on a scale that is simply unprecedented in world history. Shanghai now has more skyscrapers than New York City.
Pridmore tells a story that combines art, technology, capitalism, and Communism in vivid prose backed up by extensive reporting and illustrated with superb photographs. After surveying Shanghai’s traditional Chinese and colonial architecture, Pridmore turns to the amazing city of today. In the last decades of the 20th century, Shanghai was seen as the engine of modernization in China. Leading architects from around the world, including Norman Foster, Paul Andrew, Adrian Smith, Kohn Petersen Fox, John Portman, Chang Yung Ho, Ma Qingyun, and Benjamin Wood were lured into competitions to design vastly ambitious projects, and towering buildings in a riot of different styles sprung up before planners could even map their neighborhoods. Out of this ferment of creative growth came the most significant “new” city of the 21st century.