RTKL's Shanghai plan is unveiled by Clinton Show time: Baltimore-based RTKL Associates' design for a $200 million Shanghai science center gets a high-powered introduction.

July 01, 1998|By Frank Langfitt | Frank Langfitt,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

BEIJING -- It's not every day that the president of the United States unveils your design plans, but that's what happened in Shanghai last night to Harold L. Adams, chairman of Baltimore-based RTKL Associates Inc., one of the world's largest design companies.

At a small reception at the Shanghai Art Museum, President Clinton and Shanghai Mayor Xu Kuangdi pulled away a red velvet cover to reveal a photo rendering of RTKL's design for a $200 million Shanghai science center.

"It went extremely well," Adams said in a telephone interview, adding that the president said he was pleased that the contract had gone to an American company and correctly pronounced the company's name. "You can get [the letters] 'RTKL' mixed up, and he got it right."

Xu said the building would become a landmark structure in Shanghai, along with the city's library, art museum (which resembles a giant, bronze Chinese pot) and new opera house.

Adams attributed Clinton's participation in the unveiling to hours of hard work and lobbying by Ning Shao, the Shanghai-based managing director of the Maryland Business Center China, a state office that helps Maryland companies seeking to do business here.

The science museum, primarily glass and steel, will rise like a curving ramp. It will have an egg-shaped glass hall featuring displays on interactive screens and a theater seating 500 to 600 people.

The hall and theater are designed to resemble an egg and its yolk, representing an incubator for technological advancement. The spiral shape is supposed to suggest the revolving universe and Shanghai's rise as an economic and technological center.

The museum is designed as an educational institution and to promote scientific and technological advances. Adams said it will use computer graphics and virtual reality.

RTKL beat out eight other companies, two of them Chinese, to win the design contract, which is worth $4 million to $5 million.

Construction is to start late this year and is scheduled to be completed by October 2001, when Shanghai will be host to the Asia Pacific Economic Conference World Summit.

Pub Date: 7/01/98

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