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Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower
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3 ft 3 inch tall Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower (AKA: equilateral triangles intersecting spheres = headache!)
About this creation
DISCLAIMER: First of all, this building was not built to show off its beauty, but to prove to myself that I could do it. It's extremely Lego-unfriendly in geometric terms.


Well, I hesitated about whether to post now, OR when the MOC is complete. I have the tower portion 100% complete, and I'm satisfied, within the constraints of using the bricks that Lego manufactures. The podium of the tower is still incomplete, except for the pie-shaped tiered glass atrium, which is complete now.
The reason I opted to post a Work In Process is that in 8 hours I have to go to Hong Kong for 2-3 weeks. A few minutes ago, I got copied on an email for an itinerary in Germany, Austria, & the Czech Republic where I'll likely be called in to be an interpreter. But, uh, I mindlessly digress into topics much less important than Lego.

Like I said in the intro, this is the ShangHai Oriental Pearl Tower, but I lovingly refer to it as Equilateral Triangles Intersecting Spheres. Neither of which are terribly Lego friendly shapes to build, then putting them together is like the quintiscential square peg being forced into the round whole. I honestly contemplated using a power drill, crazy glue, and many other highly "non-purist" means of affixing the equilateral frame of columns to the upper and lower spheres. Finally, after my wife talked me down and got me to come back in off of the ledge where I'd surely have jumped from, I found a painfully complex arrangement that worked out nicely in the end, composed of turntables, plates, axles, and the ever so clever 180 degree rotation in the columns so that columns with studs facing up (rising up from the large sphere below) could connect to columns with studs facing down (descending from the smaller sphere above). Just below the upper sphere, the columns have axles running the length to hold together the part where the columns change from being studs on top to studs on bottom.

I should note, this MOC, unlike its predecessors, the TaiPei 101 and the Hong Kong Bank of China, is NOT earthquake resistant...

*************************************
Official Props To The Wife Section
As always, the wife helped out in many ways, not only in support of the 8-hour road trip we took to Lego's Orlando Florida Imagination Center in November only 2 days after returning from Asia, where I loaded up on many grey cylinders and red tiles. At the outset, I thought the sphere would look smoother if I used tiles instead of plates, but after laboring for days on tiled spheres of various sizes and color combinations, I realized that the tiles made the spheres look blockier. I think it can be attributed to an optical illusion. When the mind looks at a sphere-shaped arrangement of bricks/plates covered in studs (which are circular, and almost spherical in appearance), the mind simply says, "round". The studded spheres look infinitely better than the tiled ones, so,... ahem,... anybody want to buy a BOATLOAD of red tiles?

My wife also helped with the inner spherical observation decks and the configuration of the interlocking equilateral frames that make up the main columns. Of note, none of my beloved, dusty Star Wars sets had to give up their flesh for this creation.
*************************************


Enjoy the pics. I'll post more whenever I get back home in a few weeks, and have the time to finish the base. For now, the construction equipment will just have to move dirt around.









Here we have the ShangHai Oriental Pearl next to the Hong Kong Bank of China. The Pearl is now my third skyscraper, and I had to actually build this one at a slightly different scale than I originally wanted to. To make the Pearl be the same scale as my other 2 buildings, I would have needed columns that are 3x3 in cross section. Unfortunately, either Lego doesn't make that size of column, or I didn't look hard enough. So,... the whole building was scaled around the 2x2 cylindrical-shaped brick. For this reason, it is about a foot and a half shorter than it should be, when compared to the HK BoC and the TaiPei 101. Fortunately for me, I used to live near Seattle, WA, and have seen how they always make the Space Needle look taller than all the other buildings in the city by putting it in the front of the shot.




Here you can see the ShangHai Oriental Pearl, the Hong Kong Bank of China, and The TaiPei 101 in the back.



Here you can see the interior of the top sphere. The top sphere is mostly red, but has an orange top, with a red and orange stripe. This proved to be a challenge, and I ended up just using gravity to hold the top of the tower on above the orange stripe. I experimented with many spher sizes while building this tower, and some seemed much more difficult to build than others. I used the Bram's Sphere Generator to help me with the sphere building. Civil engineers use gravity as well as the occasional help with a sphere, so, uh, why shouldn't I?




Here you can see the uppermost portion of the tower from the red stripe on up, which simply rests on the rest of the upper sphere. There had better not be any typhoons, or she's coming down!





Here is a pic of the actual bldg in ShangHai:




Here are a few pics of the Drake family from when we were in ShangHai last week. We got a chance to go up to the observation decks this time (last 2 times we went up JinMao Tower and the ShangHai World Finance Tower, which hsa the tallest observation deck in the world, and it also sitting in my dining room waiting on a couple more bricklink purchases to complete the base, using a method I am borrowing with permission from one of my favorite builders, Arthur Gugick.
Anybody notice a trend here? I admit it; I have issues with building bases. They always get finished last. Maybe because they're the easiest part, or maybe the most mundane. I haven't figured it out yet myself.

Below is me and my main squeeze at one of the observation decks looking out at JinMao and the SWFC.


Below is my wife and son at the Space Module, the highest observation deck in the Pearl Tower. Ticket prices were only 150RMB per person, about US $20.


And below is my main man Lucas, but you can call him Lukey Dukey. This shot was taken a couple days before his 2nd birthday, which he celebrated in Hong Kong. This is in the souvenir shop in the base of the tower. He gives the building 2 thumbs up,...well, two pointer fingers up anyway. But that's his signature sign of approval. Yeah, as you can imagine, we're skipping over Duplo blocks with him and going straight to the good stuff. And afterall, isn't that why I buy all these Legos anyway? They'll all be his someday.



Comments

 I made it 
  April 5, 2014
Coming your way Rocco.
Quoting Rocco Buttliere Hi David! Excellent work, here. I really admire your model. I am actually starting to design my own version of this tower and I was wondering if you could possibly assist me in the process. I would really appreciate it if you could drop me an email and I can give you a few specific questions from there. My email is rjbuttliere@yahoo.com. Thanks!
 I like it 
  April 2, 2014
Hi David! Excellent work, here. I really admire your model. I am actually starting to design my own version of this tower and I was wondering if you could possibly assist me in the process. I would really appreciate it if you could drop me an email and I can give you a few specific questions from there. My email is rjbuttliere@yahoo.com. Thanks!
 I like it 
  September 2, 2013
This really does look like it's ready to blast off into space. I can see how joining the legs to the sphere must have been a real challenge. You've succeeded very well here, with a build that looks very neat. Great work!
 I like it 
  June 22, 2010
A design nightmare that you pulled off brilliantly! Awesome build.
 I made it 
  February 18, 2010
The hardest part about the spheres was realizing that studs look better than tiles on spheres. I have the utmost respect for the people who have made multi-colored globes of the Earth. Doing a sphere one color is one thing, repetitive, times 6, but making them multi-colored makes it a LOT harder. I've been thinking about doing the Kuwait Towers, but haven't found the time, or the tan bricks for it yet...
Quoting Eli Case It looks great!Was it hard to do the spheres?
 I like it 
  January 26, 2010
It looks great!Was it hard to do the spheres?
 I made it 
  December 30, 2009
Thanks. In a lot of ways, this was harder than the Bank of China and the TaiPei 101, but I think the ShangHai World Finance Center was harder than all 3 of these, possibly put together.
Quoting Markus Jaques You took quite a challenge here! I like it very much - even more than the Bank of China tower and your other master pieces.
 I made it 
  December 30, 2009
No, it wasn't a competition. I really prefer to build something that's never been built before, and some time after I got the idea to do this tower, I saw Joe's post. I had to really do some soul-searching for several weeks before I decided to go ahead and do my version anyway. I am a firm believer that size DOES matter, especially with microscale skyscrapers, so seeing that he had a 9-ft tall version of it really put the fear of God in me for the task I had ahead of me. Joe would be a good competitor if we ever cooked up a bldg competition, but he does most of his stuff now with software. He lives in Singapore, and it's harder to get bricks there than it is here in the US. I was in Singapore 2x last year, but we never managed to meet up and swap war stories.
Quoting Jenny Hong I'm amazed by your building. Its simply breathtaking. Just out of curiosity, it seem that both you and and Joe (http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/74210) both have the same structure. So was it a competition?
 I like it 
  December 30, 2009
You took quite a challenge here! I like it very much - even more than the Bank of China tower and your other master pieces.
 I like it 
  December 24, 2009
I'm amazed by your building. Its simply breathtaking. Just out of curiosity, it seem that both you and and Joe (http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/74210) both have the same structure. So was it a competition?
 I like it 
  November 28, 2009
My father has a photo of this in his studio! Looks awesome and detailed, great joB!
 I like it 
  October 25, 2009
Wonderful :)
 I made it 
  October 13, 2009
Quoting Emperor Ludgonious That base is excellent. Way to push the boundries of Lego to their max. Great build. I can't wait to see it finished.
the problem is, I always seem to start the next project before the previous one is finished. I'm almost done my next skyscraper, and still haven't touched the base of the Pearl Tower. I'm back in Shanghai again, so maybe I'll get some more detailed pics of the podium base and make the changes when I get back home next month.
 I like it 
  October 13, 2009
That base is excellent. Way to push the boundries of Lego to their max. Great build. I can't wait to see it finished.
 I like it 
  October 2, 2009
Dude... I gotta say that your creation does look more detailed or rather more realistic as compared to mine by many times... i like how all 3 buildings were taken in the shot... its very beautiful... xD..
 I made it 
  May 4, 2009
Hey Shannon, I'd be glad to send you some red tiles, but it will have to wait a bit. I am overseas again for 11 weeks this time (meaning, not in the US). I'll be in Hong Kong again, for 4 more weeks (where apart from mindless work I'll be doing more field research on the cool buildings there), then I'm heading to ShangHai for 3 weeks (again, more field research on the bldgs there, both for work and for play), then off to TaiPei for 2 weeks, followed by BeiJing for 2 weeks, then, quite possibly, back to Hong Kong again for some undetermined length of time. Needless to say, I am thousands of miles away from my rubbermaid tubs, so the red tiles will have to wait to late July at the earliest. But, they ARE ear-marked for you.
Quoting Shannon Young Equilateral triangles OR spheres are hard enough to work with in Lego, you must really be a masochist to want to combine the two. And you know those "Chronos Project" laughs you wanted to pay me for? It just so happens that red tiles are a form of currency I accept! I think we can hammer out some sort of payment plan...
 I like it 
  April 23, 2009
Equilateral triangles OR spheres are hard enough to work with in Lego, you must really be a masochist to want to combine the two. And you know those "Chronos Project" laughs you wanted to pay me for? It just so happens that red tiles are a form of currency I accept! I think we can hammer out some sort of payment plan...
 I made it 
  March 25, 2009
Well, I have to say that I'm glad I posted the Work in Process almost a month ago. My 2 week trip to Hong Kong has turned into a 1 month trip, and I'll likely be home for only 10 days before coming back again for another month. It's hard to do any building when one is living out of a suitcase. Your guess on when this one gets finished is as good as mine.
 I like it 
  February 26, 2009
It was a blast to build this with you and I have NO idea where some of my ideas came from! I'm not an engineer, architect, or designer at all but somehow the mind meshes with Lego blocks. It is beautiful...especially with the BOC and Taipei 101. The spehere were a challenge to build but quite fascinating!!! :) You nailed the design, color, and shape!
 I like it 
  February 26, 2009
Great work so far. I think youve taken on a really hard task and have nailed it so far. Im looking forward to seeing the finished work.
 
By david drake
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Added February 26, 2009
 


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