Tuesday, January 13, 2009

180 degrees panoramic view of Shanghai

One of the buses that stop at my apartment goes all the way to the Nanpu Bridge (South Huangpu River Bridge), so I took a ride to that edifice for a closer look.

This is a bridge like no other I’ve seen. That is to say, I have not seen many magnificent bridges before. It commands your awe by virtue of its monstrosity and inelegance.

Shanghai is filled with elevated highways – when the roads became too crowded and there was no where to expand, urban designers expanded to the third dimension. Intersections of these elevated highways are always messy yet dramatic affairs: several layers of highways criss-crossing above a surface-level junction, with branches taking vehicles from one highway and diving down to another route.

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The Nanpu bridge’s ramps are a good example of this mess of noodles in the sky. With a bridge deck high above the river surface, a circular ramp was designed to bring vehicles onto the bridge.

The bridge deck is open to tourists at a reasonable price of 10 RMB. There is no need to climb 46 metres of stairs: the columns have lifts up to the deck level.

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The deck gives a representative but rather dull view of the Shanghai skyline. As it is located a distance from the main commercial buildings, most of the visible structures are not of the shiny glass and aluminium kind, but mostly concrete high rise residential blocks.

I took photographs at regular intervals as I rotated through 180 degrees, and quickly stitched them together using Photoshop. With no tripod and no exposure correction, the image is far from perfect but this will do for now.

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3478 wide by 500 pixels high, 240 kb

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