A structure that dwarfs Shanghai’s already impressive skyline, the Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world, surpassed only by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. The colossal skyscraper stands 128 stories, or 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall, and includes everything from retail spaces and offices, to hotels and observation decks. More importantly, the architectural marvel has become a symbol of China’s growing economic power and self-confidence — construction on the Shanghai Tower began in late 2008, during the anxious, early months of the last world financial crisis.
Arriving shortly after construction started, timelapse specialist Joe Nafis began shooting the tower’s construction — as well as Shanghai’s shifting cityscape — from a location with unobstructed views of Lujiazui. “I maintained a camera there for the next 4 years until the tower was completed,” Nafis explains. “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. I used a variety of Canon cameras, lenses and motion control equipment to shoot. LRTimelapse was used for de-flickering while Adobe After Effects and Premiere were used for editing.” Watch the results of Nafis’ incredible project above.