The Shanghai World Financial Center, the future highest building in China, will not get the beautiful round hole at the top of the building, as was originally planned. After Chinese complaints that the top looks too much like the Japanese flag, the (Japanese!) developer changed the design to a rectangular opening. To save face of course other reasons were put forward.
The developer’s president Minor Mori explained the change by saying that during lengthy planning delays in the 11-year-old project, he began to think the original design had “lost its freshness.”
Construction of the slender, wedge-shaped building began in the mid-1990s and is due for completion in 2008. The original design called for a 164-foot-high circular hole through the tower’s peak to reduce wind pressure on the structure and give it a distinctive profile.
But Chinese critics said the hole resembled Japan’s “rising sun” flag, an image associated in China with Tokyo’s brutal conquest of much of China during the 1930s and ’40s.