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Towering attraction to give visitors the ride of their life
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The spectacular renovation of a chimney in Shanghai's century-old power plant seems certain to make it one of the major attractions of World Expo 2010.


The 165-meter chimney on the Puxi side of the Expo site along the Huangpu River in the 110-year-old Nanshi Power Plant will be transformed into a 201-meter "Expo Harmony Tower".


Tracks and cars similar to a roller-coaster will wrap around the tower and take visitors to the top for a bird's-eye view of Shanghai's impressive skyline and the 5.28-square-kilometer Expo site. Fifty different cars will be able to circle the 15.6-meter-diameter tower at the same time, each holding up to six passengers.


The cars will operate at the speed of a normal escalator and take 28 minutes to travel up and then back down. The top of the tower will be the highest point in the Expo site.


Each night the Harmony Tower will be illuminated by twinkling lights that will resemble a white magnolia, Shanghai's city flower.


Organizers say the tower will also feature prominently at night during the opening ceremony.


The ferroconcrete chimney was constructed in 1985 and designed to stand for at least 50 years so it will remain in place well after the conclusion of Expo 2010.


Bai Wenhua, chairman of Shanghai World Expo Land Holding Co Ltd, said the tower would comfortably carry the 50 cars and track as they would actually be supported by separate brackets.


The Harmony Tower project is the brainchild of Tongji University and is unprecedented in the world, according to construction contractor, Zhejiang Juma Amusement Equipment Co Ltd. Construction of the tower is expected to be completed by January 2010 and in operation by April.


The old workshops in the power plant that closed last September will also be revamped into one of the five Expo theme pavilions and will host the "Exploration of Future Cities" exhibition.


The Nanshi plant is the oldest power plant in China and is situated in Shanghai's earliest industrialized area.


Bai said the protection of the historical building was an important aspect of Expo preparations and its renovation would demonstrate the city's capabilities.


The workshops, with a floor area of 9,150 square meters, also form part of the "Urban Best Practices Area" exhibition, which will display innovative ways of how to make city life better.


The former high-pollution plant will become a venue employing environmental protection technologies such as the use of electricity generated by the tide, wind and sun, organizers said.


A bridge that once transfered coal to the plant will be revamped into a sightseeing road extending to the Huangpu River waterfront. About 380,000 square meters of old constructions in the Expo site will be preserved of which 250,000 square meters are in old factories - the biggest-ever protection project in Expo history.


Expo organizers plan to turn most of the workshops and warehouses into exhibition halls or public activity centers.


After Expo the venues will become museums.


Old factories take on new lives


Jiangnan Shipyard


The 142-year-old Jiangnan Shipyard will be turned into a performance center. The yards are about 10 meters below river level and visitors will have to go downstairs to watch shows.


Shanghai Pudong Iron and Steel Company


Construction of the China Pavilion and theme pavilions has started on the land that previously belonged to the 94-year-old Shanghai Pudong Iron and Steel Company. The factory was moved to the new site in Luojing, Baoshan District, last October.


Nanshi Water Plant


The northern section of the 105-year-old Nanshi Water Plant, on the banks of the Huangpu River in the downtown Huangpu District, is being upgraded and expanded.


The southern section will be demolished after the northern section resumes production to make way for the construction of Expo's corporate exhibition halls.


The two sections of the Nanshi plant were separate when they opened in 1902. One was built by the French to supply the former French Concession while the other was constructed by the Chinese. The two merged in 1956.


Hualun Textile Printing and Dyeing Factory


The Expo Mansion where Expo organizers work used to be a textile printing and dyeing factory that was originally built by French businessmen.


(Shanghai Daily January 22, 2008)


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