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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai
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Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai
Due to the on-the-spot designing, it is unknown how many pieces this model consists of.
About this creation
The Oriental Pearl Tower is a multi-use, 1,535-ft landmark tower, located at the tip of Lujiazui in the Pudong District of Shanghai, on the shores of the Huangpu River. Upon completion in 1994, it was the tallest building in China up until the completion of the Shanghai World Financial Center (less than a mile away) in 2007.

This is my second Shanghai skyscraper model and my thirty-first overall. Originally, I had planned to build this model shortly after Brickworld 2013, however, I decided to focus on Chicago models after I was invited last July to display at Prudential Plaza in February 2014. Although, this likely worked out for the better since the Chicago models I made in the meantime were of increasingly difficult shapes and structures. This model marks the culmination of my focus over the past year on tackling buildings of unique geometrical quality. The model took about three months to design and build. Model completed May 31, 2014.

A special thanks to David Drake for not only providing me with on-site photographs of the tower and its surroundings, but for the inspiration from his own wonderful model of the tower.

More photos on Brickshelf

Construction technique documentation here

Designed by Jiang Huan Chen, Lin Benlin & Zhang Xiulin, the Oriental Pearl Tower is supported by three enormous columns and features eleven spheres of varying size. The spheres are often lit brightly at night in colorful LED sequences.

Though the exact source of inspiration for the design has never been stated, the tower has often been cited as reminiscent of a verse from the Tang Dynasty poem, Pipa Song by Bai Juyi. The poem describes the sprinkling sound of a pipa instrument, like pearls of different sizes falling on a jade plate.

The entire site is situated atop a raised podium, allowing the base of the tower to appear as though it is above the viewer as you approach the entrance. The plaza is used for various outdoor activities and hosted the 2007 Chinese Live Earth Concert.

The main entrance to the tower features a broad, overhanging canopy, with signs that read "Oriental Pearl Tower" in Chinese. The main sign, situated in front of the angled support column welcomes visitors to the tower. The writing on these tiles is accomplished using custom decals, placed on five 1x1 tiles and one 2x4 tile. Since this picture was taken, I have had the lettering on the 2x4 tile etched into its surface.

A close-up of the structure beneath the first large sphere. I was able to attach two 3x3 cylinder hemispheres together by placing a snugly-fitting tire between the two halves, allowing for a friction connection that works surprisingly well.

Looking at the lower of the two large spheres, I used one of the trans-red "pods" from some mini sets a few years ago, to form the center of the sphere. Directly behind the surface of the pod, I used brown triangular road signs to capture the geometric quality of the glass surface of the sphere on the real tower.

The mid-section of the tower features six spheres, held by the triangular enclosure of 1x4 offset plates which connect to the major columns.

The idea of incorporating my first-ever circular base helps to further emphasize the geometrical quality of the tower. One of my favorite details in the model is the use of the 2x4 wedge plates for the circular scenic path that circumscribes the base of the tower. See the link above for process images that help to give a visual explanation to the methods I used to create the base.

A final look at the tower.


 I like it 
  June 21, 2014
This was just as splendid in person! Another architectural masterpiece to be sure. Cheers!
 I made it 
  June 18, 2014
Quoting Michael Rutherford How fragile is this thing? It looks very delicate.
The lower section is definitely the most stable portion of the overall tower, since it connects directly to the base. The the columns in the middle attach to bars coming up from the first of the large spheres. Then the upper sphere and everything above simply sits on the top of the columns.
Rocco Buttliere
 I like it 
Michael Rutherford
  June 17, 2014
Wow, you really dealt with some challenges in the shape of this thing! Three way symmetry in combination with spheres! You did a great job of building right through it. Really impressive. How fragile is this thing? It looks very delicate. Again, great job, and thanks for posting!
 I like it 
  June 17, 2014
Fantastic connections! Wonderful job!
 I like it 
  June 17, 2014
Fantastic job on the tower as well as the overall shape of the creation!
 I like it 
  June 17, 2014
Very cool. I love the colors and the overall composition.
 I like it 
  June 17, 2014
I don't know anything about this tower, but your creation is stunning. The "legs" of the tower reminds me the Atomium (BE)... nice technique.
Rocco Buttliere
 I like it 
Matt Bace
  June 16, 2014
Fantastic work, as always. This is certainly a very unique piece of architecture, and it deserves to have a great LEGO model of it.
 I like it 
  June 16, 2014
That Base is INSANE!
By Rocco Buttliere
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai

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