When completed in 1999, Shanghai's 420-metre-tall Jin Mao Tower became China's tallest building. The Skidmore, Owings and Merrill-designed development marked the country's first supertall, a now ubiquitous term that China's megacities are duly familiar with. In the time since, the Jin Mao Tower has slipped out of the top ten as China's explosive building boom continues unabated. But the Postmodern icon's contribution to skyscraper design around the world remains strong, and Shanghai's now third-tallest building still attracts throngs of tourists and architecture fanatics every year.

Jin Mao Tower, image by Flickr user keppet via Creative Commons

The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) joined Jin Mao Hotel Investments and Management in celebrating the project's 20th anniversary by holding a forum on technological innovation in highrise construction and design on August 28th. Jin Mao's unique design was spotlighted in a presentation by Structural and Seismic Engineering Partner Mark Sarkisian, while contrasting the building with contemporary issues in highrise construction. CTBUH recognized the anniversary with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.

Jin Mao Tower, image by Flickr user FLASHPACKER TRAVELGUIDE via Creative Commons

Translating to "golden prosperity", the building adopts the Chinese culture's lucky number eight in several aspects of the design, from the 88-storey height to the octagon-shaped floor plates. The overall form of the tower is inspired by traditional Chinese pagodas, with a series of ascending setbacks adding visual texture to the building from afar.

Despite taller observation decks next door at the Shanghai World Financial Center and Shanghai Tower, the Jin Mao Tower's 88th floor remains a popular tourist destination. A recently added 60-metre-long glass skywalk affixed to the exterior of the building ups the thrills, as guests are treated to windowless views of the Huangpu River and Shanghai skyline.

Jin Mao Tower, image by Flickr user blake.thornberry via Creative Commons

The Jin Mao Tower's lower 50 floors hold offices, while the upper 38 storeys are home to a 555-room Grand Hyatt Hotel. A six-storey podium contains a conference and exhibition space, a cinema, and 20,000 square metres of retail space.

As always, feel free to join the conversation in the comments section below.