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G9 Travel Guide to Shanghai: Architecture

May 18, 2011

Pudong Skyline.

The Shanghai Skyline from the catwalk of the World Financial Center.

Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong are complete playgrounds for architecture photographers. On a clear day standing on the viewing catwalk of the second largest building in the world, the World Financial Center allows for a break-taking overview of Pudong and the eastern Shanghai.

Pudong is packed with an amazing assortment of skyscrapers. The Oriental Pearl Tower features 11 spheres, big and small. The tower has fifteen observatory levels. The design of the building is said to be based on a verse of the Tang Dynasty poem Pipa Song by Bai Juyi about the wonderful sprinkling sound of a pipa instrument, like pearls, big and small falling on a jade plate

Jimao Tower from WFC Building

Pudong Skyline at Night

The Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

Also located on Pudong is the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, showcasing some amazing modern and clean lines. The museum features exhibits on cloning, robotics, space exploration, and information era. Super progressive topics.

The intricate spirals of the main dome.

All the way on the other end of Shanghai is the Hongqiao Railway Station. Massive and modern in every way.

Hongqiao Railway Station

A solo traveler.

Old China

Architecture has always played an important role in China. The Ming Dynasty built a fortified city that dates back to the 11th century which still to this day includes the City God Temple and Yuyuan Gardens.

Old vs. New Shanghai

Intricate Temple Roofing

City God Temple

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Stay tuned for the next post: Guilin, China.

141 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2011 7:25 pm

    Lots of great shots but the Solo Traveler is fantastic!

  2. Meredith permalink
    May 19, 2011 9:02 pm

    Outstanding! Your photos are gorgeous and inspirational.

    • May 19, 2011 10:23 pm

      Thanks Meredith, travel photography is a perk when doing location shoots. Wait until you see the real campaign shots from there, I can’t share them just yet.

  3. May 19, 2011 10:05 pm

    History and traditional has been far away from us, what is left to our descendant is noly the reinforced concrete.

  4. May 19, 2011 10:09 pm

    Great pictures – I especially like the black and whites. And did I see a little bit of blue sky in one shot? In China?!?

    • May 19, 2011 10:20 pm

      Thanks 🙂 There was smidgen of blue sky one day…

      • May 22, 2011 3:27 am

        I was fortunate when I was in Shanghai a couple of years ago to have nothing but blue sky and blazing sunshine! Back next year I hope.

  5. May 19, 2011 10:21 pm

    Spent many very enjoyable times working in China, but my all time favorite city is Shanghai. Your first panoramic shot of the city and the river, shot from what we referred to as the Bund side, for all the banks and financial houses located there. The large 80+ story hotel in the background is where I always stayed. Great place, great service, and views from the restaurants/bars on the top floors were wonderful.

    Thanks for sharing

  6. May 19, 2011 10:33 pm

    nice pics?why have not been to Yunnan?

    • May 19, 2011 10:42 pm

      We spent time in Yangshuo shooting for a clothing brand, but didn’t have time to visit Yunnan (much to my chagrin). The Yulong and Yangshuo images will be posted next week. Stay tuned.

  7. Jatin Shah permalink
    May 19, 2011 10:39 pm

    Your pictures are detailed and awesome. After watching it Shanghai has been added to my must visit list. Great work 🙂

    • May 19, 2011 10:46 pm

      Thank you Jatin. Have you been to Hong Kong? You might have to add that to your list to, I’ve been working on those edits and that city is equally as impressive.

      • May 20, 2011 4:16 am

        Shanghai in B&W is so beautiful!
        Looking forward to see your HK photos. 🙂

      • Jatin Shah permalink
        May 20, 2011 10:16 pm

        No Marc, I haven’t been out of India but I plan to explore these cities soon 🙂

  8. May 19, 2011 10:50 pm

    Just looking at the photos I can smell the lead/arsenic/formaldehyde/tar-rich cigarette fumes.

  9. May 19, 2011 11:07 pm

    Future New York?

    • May 19, 2011 11:12 pm

      Hong Kong seems to be leading the pack to a future NYC.

  10. May 19, 2011 11:09 pm

    Wow! Love this. I went to Beijing last month and now I want to visit Shanghai too one day. Your post makes me want to go there even more!

  11. May 19, 2011 11:20 pm

    Simply awesome!!!

  12. May 20, 2011 12:05 am

    This is the best city on the planet – I’ve been here 5 years now and am loving every single day of it! Thank you for sharing the pictures, they are beautiful and made me feel very proud in a way of the place I chose to be my home, even though I am not Chinese.

    Those of you who want to visit – you most definitely should, this place is like nothing else out there…

  13. May 20, 2011 1:06 am

    My wife and I went to Shanghai with her family a few years back and they do have a lot of beautiful architectural buildings. We rode a boat that toured as around the Shanghai bay at night and the skycrapers with their lights magnificent light were spectacular. great post. congrats.

  14. May 20, 2011 1:15 am


  15. myfilthyroom permalink
    May 20, 2011 2:11 am

    Shanghai is definitely a cool place to visit. 😀

  16. Kai permalink
    May 20, 2011 2:20 am

    Wow! Awesome pics. The architecture throughout Asia in general is breathtaking

  17. Cayenne permalink
    May 20, 2011 2:35 am

    Amazing juxtaposition in “Old vs. New Shanghai.”

    There’s also a copy of the Wall Street Bull made by the original designer.
    It’s by the Bund facing the Pudong skyscrapers across the river.

    The New New York.

  18. May 20, 2011 3:55 am

    Beautiful windows, also some places can not let you know . “Red terror hid in Shanghai

  19. May 20, 2011 4:15 am

    Stunning, pictures of Shanghai architecture and skyline:)

  20. May 20, 2011 4:21 am

    Awesome pictures and wow 🙂

  21. ALIVE aLwaYs permalink
    May 20, 2011 4:28 am

    Loved the architectural marvel, more so the old architectural heritage. After I saw “The story of Maths” on BBC, I realized how much math is required to build such brilliant forms.

  22. May 20, 2011 4:44 am

    All the pics are great. The Pudong Skyline pic is gorgeous! 🙂

  23. May 20, 2011 5:26 am

    Great Pics!!!
    Shanghai was one of my fauvorite places i’ve visited in Asia 😀

  24. May 20, 2011 5:39 am

    its fantastic.. nice pic..

  25. iqra saba permalink
    May 20, 2011 5:39 am

    after watching your pics i thought that God has give a great mind to people.your pics are amazing.

  26. May 20, 2011 5:47 am

    Just discovered your blog, and it is really fun to read about your adventures traveling in China-because I am currently living in Tianjin, China, as an oral English teacher!! Your pics are awesome, and your stories are cracking me up! Hope your adventures in China were great 🙂

  27. May 20, 2011 5:47 am

    Your photos are amazing. Good job on showcasing Shanghai’s architectural wonder. Congrats on being FP also! 🙂

  28. May 20, 2011 6:09 am

    Gorgeous photos! You have a wonderful eye and I agree, the Solo Traveler is quite special. Have a wonderful day!

  29. May 20, 2011 6:22 am

    Unique, stunning images 🙂

  30. Theresa permalink
    May 20, 2011 6:32 am

    Beautiful city. Have been to China 7 times in the past 3 years but never made it to Shanghai – definitely will the next time. Thank you

  31. May 20, 2011 6:48 am

    Your pictures are nice ones. The evening is more beautiful than day actually because the sky !

  32. May 20, 2011 6:51 am


  33. May 20, 2011 7:02 am

    i had been to china a few years back, but i miss not being a photographer then. you pictures kind of fill that gap for me..kudos..!!

  34. May 20, 2011 7:13 am

    Здравейте и от мен. Поздрави за хубавата статия- отдавна не бях чел нещо хубаво по темата. Продължавайте в същия дух :))

  35. Emilie permalink
    May 20, 2011 7:50 am

    Beautiful pictures…. Loved it 🙂

  36. May 20, 2011 7:54 am

    I always thought this comparison photo was amazing…

    What 10 years difference can make…

    • May 20, 2011 9:32 am

      Amazing pic, the change is drastic! Thanks for sharing!

  37. May 20, 2011 7:59 am

    Wow, what a phenomenal city. The photos are just amazing.

  38. May 20, 2011 8:06 am

    Thank a lot for this post…

    Best regards,


  39. May 20, 2011 8:11 am

    love the sci tech museum pic. great photos and i usually am not a fan of photos of modern buildings.

  40. May 20, 2011 8:48 am

    Which lenses have you used to take the first two pics? they are just impressive!


    • May 20, 2011 9:34 am

      First shot is a composite of 6 shots stitched together. In the second image I used an ultra-wide Nikon 14-28mm f/2.8 lens.

      • May 21, 2011 9:35 am

        6 shots stitched together? How did you do that (forgive my ignorance, please!)?

  41. May 20, 2011 8:56 am

    Some amazing shot up there, from the ultra wide fish eye view down to small details.
    Nice work,

  42. May 20, 2011 9:21 am

    Shanghai is indeed quite a place. I will have to try to return some day to see the things I missed, and take a good camera this time. Looking forward to your shots of Guilin. If I could, I would gladly live in Guilin. You don’t find the same architecture, but they do have those fantastic lighted caverns, beautiful views, water buffalo, and comorants.

  43. May 20, 2011 9:49 am

    Nice pics….I love the striking architecture. Have always wanted to go to Shangai….sadly, much of the old is being replaced by modern-looking architecture.

  44. May 20, 2011 10:10 am

    We’re also contributing pictures from China to BiPolar Photo where we compare and contrast images everyday from Thailand, China, and the USA… stop by if you have a moment.

  45. saltybi11 permalink
    May 20, 2011 10:20 am

    Haha! They have thier own space needle!

  46. May 20, 2011 10:41 am

    This is some GORGEOUS architecture. Love the design of those Chinese buildings.

  47. Matt Goldsmith permalink
    May 20, 2011 12:41 pm

    Stunning photographs.. planning a trip there and wonder what other treasures there are to photograph!

    • May 21, 2011 1:00 am

      There are tons of treasures waiting to be discovered, definitely a urban photographers dream.

  48. May 20, 2011 2:07 pm

    Very cool shots!

  49. Jia permalink
    May 20, 2011 2:19 pm

    Awesome shots with great angle and compostion! Wonder what kind of lens are you using?

  50. May 20, 2011 3:21 pm

    Good work!

  51. May 20, 2011 3:47 pm

    That is some amazing architecture, modern buildings and not so modern buildings. It seems like the solo traveler would be a bit lonely up there. I think my favorite is the Shanghai Skyline from the catwalk of the World Financial Center.

  52. travellingrome permalink
    May 20, 2011 3:59 pm

    amazing, terrific photos!I think Shangai is a must to visit in the new millennium era.Old and new lines and outlooks are mixxed. I hope ti visit China, one day.

  53. May 20, 2011 5:14 pm

    very nice work. are these HDR? I have never done black and white HDR but may try now thanks to your great work here…

    I have my own site, mainly dedicated to vegas as thats where I live, but love to see Asian cities.

    Thanks again!

    • May 21, 2011 1:03 am

      none are HDR, although I love HDR images, there’s just a little selective work in photoshop, but nothing really major.

  54. May 20, 2011 8:46 pm

    thanks, very useful info,,

  55. May 20, 2011 8:47 pm

    Incredible photos

  56. Roda permalink
    May 20, 2011 9:45 pm

    Some of the best photos are in black and white. Stark in themselves but with a clarity.

  57. May 20, 2011 10:13 pm

    awesome pictures:D

  58. naldacantik permalink
    May 21, 2011 2:51 am

    the incredible shanghai!

  59. May 21, 2011 3:07 am

    Nice one…

  60. May 21, 2011 4:07 am

    woa nice pics and great article….

  61. yuhezhuying permalink
    May 21, 2011 4:10 am

    That’s great!! I’m a chinese….i like china very much…

  62. May 21, 2011 4:57 am

    Beautiful photos – you have really captured the old and the new! We’ve been living in Shanghai for the last two years and this is indeed an amazing city!

  63. Conchibi permalink
    May 21, 2011 8:12 am

    I love your pictures! I was just in Shanghai a month back and I raved in almost all my posts about the gorgeous architecture (and food!).

    • May 21, 2011 10:29 am

      oh the food, we’ve been craving shanghai dumplings since we left

  64. thor27 permalink
    May 21, 2011 9:59 am

    Contrasts the ancient and new China.

  65. May 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Great pictures. The old architecture is amazing.

  66. May 21, 2011 11:16 am

    super dope photos! im very big into architecture and these buildings look awesome nice job capturing them

  67. May 21, 2011 12:09 pm

    The pics, clarity, compositions, appropriate color saturation, point of view and lens selection…living guide to budding photographers. Cant choose one, but the temple roof (three arches- one above other) is my choice. I don’t think I have seen Shanghai is such splendor anywhere.

  68. May 21, 2011 3:14 pm

    Really really great shots!!! I like the picture of old vs new Shanghai the most.

  69. May 21, 2011 7:23 pm

    A good Job, Bro…
    I see the wonderful/magnificient of China from Your pictures… The combination between technology and art (ancient heritage) is truely owesome….
    Tks for a good articles.. : )

  70. May 21, 2011 7:46 pm

    Good Evening –

    I lived in Hong Kong in 1993 and the building boom to the sky was well underway at that time. Of course, they were governed and controlled by the UK back then. Look at what’s happened to China the past 18 years and its skyline. Amazing, huh? Awesome architectural photos. Love them. Happy Saturday evening. 🙂

  71. May 21, 2011 9:54 pm

    Beautiful pictures and architecture!

  72. May 21, 2011 9:57 pm

    Great pictures!

  73. May 21, 2011 11:57 pm

    Beautiful shots, thank you for sharing. I never realised China had such stunning buildings. It’s sometimes easy (especially where I live) to appreciate the marvels of Nature and forget about the exquisite beauty of human creations, including buildings.
    Congrats on Freshly Pressed. Looking forward to more pics.

  74. May 22, 2011 1:23 am

    Great pictures! Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the great works guys Ive added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information.. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.

  75. May 22, 2011 1:59 am

    wow… beautiful…..

  76. May 22, 2011 4:04 am

    A very interesting range of images from Shanghai. Some of the temples are very nice.

  77. Canadiantravelbugs permalink
    May 22, 2011 5:08 am

    My husband and I have moved to Shanghai for work and there is so many interesting buildings here in Shangahi. All of China is actually pretty interesting and each city seems to want to one up the other with something new and spectacular! Shenzin has the “model” an oblong buildin with a narrow middle like a model’s figure! Hong Kong is also amazing, but I must say Shanghai has the most interesting — even the apartment buildings. We live in Pudong -the newer part of the city and we have an amazing view of the skyline. Furthermore in our neighbourhood we have the “lego buildings” -ones with coloured balconies or detail, the “lipstick buildings” -look like tubes of lipstick and one that looks like a spaceship on top.

    Many fellow co-workers have gone threw Dubai as they have travelled here and said Dubai is even crazier for architecture… its so surreal.

    • May 23, 2011 2:25 am

      Dubai is on the list for 2012. Can’t wait! The “lego buildings” sound interesting, share some pix with us 😉

  78. May 22, 2011 6:12 am

    welcome to china. : )

  79. May 22, 2011 6:20 am

    amazing picture, lovely shanhai. next time i go there. 🙂 thanks for share

  80. imurelsa permalink
    May 22, 2011 8:32 am

    hmm,,,someday i will visit shanghai..=)

  81. May 22, 2011 9:20 am

    wspaniała Architektura!

  82. May 22, 2011 10:44 am

    i just arrived in Shanghai 2 days ago…i’ll be here for a month.Your post it’s just perfect and the pictures just made me want to see al those places…startng tomorrow 🙂
    Amazing post

  83. May 22, 2011 11:11 am

    awesome! great photos!

  84. May 22, 2011 11:56 am

    Great pictures. I was there recently but it was so overcast and misty (polluted?) that it was hard to take any good shots.

    • May 23, 2011 2:23 am

      A challenge we faced in Hong Kong, but sometimes you can create more mystery with those conditions.

  85. May 22, 2011 12:13 pm

    Great pictures!

  86. May 22, 2011 12:43 pm

    thx for sharing

  87. May 22, 2011 1:11 pm

    You must have had to little abit harder for older Chinese architecture. Glad you’re enjoying the city –one learns alot just by consciously taking photos of certain things!

  88. May 22, 2011 3:34 pm

    do you like shanghai jaja?

  89. May 22, 2011 5:41 pm

    Your photography is unbelievable! I just came back from a month long stay and work trip in Shanghai, took hundreds of pictures and trying to stack them together in articles about Shanghai. You are right, it is a paradise for photography, especially the combination of very new and modern with very old and mysterious. Love it! Beijing and Hong Kong are amazing as well.

    Well done!

    • May 23, 2011 2:20 am

      Thanks Monica, you’ve some pretty incredible photos too! I love the shot of the boat with the dragons at night.

      Our Hong Kong post is coming soon, pretty unbelievable there too.

  90. May 22, 2011 9:53 pm

    I am sincerely humbled by all of your support, thank you all for the kind words and I look forward to sharing more imagery with everyone.

  91. May 23, 2011 12:02 am

    Great photos…..Really like the old vs new. I love looking at photos so will see when you add more. Thanks and have a stunning day.

  92. May 23, 2011 1:32 am

    Great camera work…

  93. May 23, 2011 8:04 am

    This is beautiful.

  94. May 23, 2011 9:22 am

    i must admitt, shanghai was never on my list of top 25 places to visit. these photos have bumped it up significantly. thanks!

  95. May 23, 2011 9:25 am

    Amazing collection of photos monsuier 🙂

  96. May 23, 2011 9:46 am

    These pictures are incredible because I’ve been living in Shanghai for years and these look better than anything I’ve ever seen here.

  97. May 23, 2011 10:02 am

    Great photos! I can’t believe how intricate and yet how clean and simple the architecture is on that last photo… trust Shanghai to manage to make something look incredibly ornamental but not overblown at the same time. 😀

  98. hermosausaadmin permalink
    May 23, 2011 11:17 am

    Hello! Such beautiful pictures! I was wondering if I could link to this blog post? I’m an admin for a fan blog for Daniel Henney who is currently shooting a film in Shanghai with Bill Paxton. I’d love to link to this post to show some of the beautiful architecture to his fans who’d like to see bits of Shanghai. Thanks so much. I look forward to hearing from you! -Marianne (Hermosa USA Admin)

    • May 23, 2011 12:39 pm

      Hi Marianne, thank you for asking, you are more than welcome to link this post. Thank you for stopping by and seeing what we’re up to!

      • hermosausaadmin permalink
        May 23, 2011 1:02 pm

        No problem and thanks for letting us link to this post! Your photography is AHH-MAZING! ^_^ Congrats on being “Freshly Pressed”, as well…that’s so awesome! Have a wonderful week, Marc! I’m reposting it now.

  99. May 23, 2011 6:17 pm

    WOW! These shots are AWESOME!

  100. May 23, 2011 8:52 pm

    I hope I can go those places,,,,

  101. May 23, 2011 11:48 pm

    Very nice photos. I felt like I was looking at a brilliant coffee table book totally mesmerized!

  102. flydaniel permalink
    May 24, 2011 1:37 am

    I thought Jimao Tower is Taipei 101. Very nice photos btw!

  103. May 24, 2011 7:00 pm

    Picturesquely amazing! Shanghai is one of the best places in China.

  104. May 25, 2011 12:45 am

    very nice work. are these HDR? I have never done black and white HDR but may try now thanks to your great work here…
    I have my own site, mainly dedicated to vegas as thats where I live, but love to see Asian cities.
    Thanks again!

  105. May 25, 2011 7:28 pm

    Beautiful photos – you have really captured the old and the new! We’ve been living in Shanghai for the last two years and this is indeed an amazing city!

  106. May 26, 2011 2:21 am

    Really interesting. I had been trying to come up w/ some decorative ideas for some of my more uniquely shaped liquor bottles. Thanks.

  107. May 28, 2011 2:55 am

    Really good pictures

  108. May 31, 2011 2:07 am

    lovely pics….and very informative !

  109. pause permalink
    August 22, 2011 9:33 am

    cool pictures bro..

  110. August 7, 2012 2:45 am

    Невероятна фотография Има много красиви места са заснети и в много красив момент със светлината.

  111. October 26, 2012 11:04 am

    That’s professionals. Very well taken. Beautiful land with the buildings and lights.


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