Mini 1 World Trade Center Discovered in Tianjin, China


David Childs, the design leader at SOM for three decades now—his first smash was the postmodern Worldwide Plaza in Midtown, his latest the union-busting 7 World Trade Center—has come under plenty of criticism over the years for his design of 1 World Trade Center. Not only did people find it to be a dumbed-down version of Daniel Libeskind’s heavenly spire, but its signature feature, those chamfered corners, were nothing new either.

Numerous predecessors were pointed out, including one official entry by two students to the master planning competition. Now, a China-based reader sends along another from his side of the world, and it looks like almost an exact replica, down to the circular array surrounding the antenna.

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The project in question is the Tianjin Post Telecom Tower (pictured), designed by C.Y. Lee, who is best known for the Taipei 101. That was the world’s tallest tower from 2004 until last year, when the Burj Khalifa overtook it by a good 1,000 feet.

This tower is far shorter, only 350 feet, or about one-fifth the size of the (now slightly taller) 1 World Trade Center. Still, if you compare the two, the similarities are definitely there. And this one was finished in 1997. If only we knew whether Mr. Childs had spent much time in Tianjin. According to our reader, SOM has done a number of projects in Tianjin, but they are the work of the firm’s San Francisco office.

mchaban [at] | @MC_NYC