Shanghai Tower – China's tallest building

When it is complete in late 2014, Shanghai Tower will stand 632 metres above the heart of Shanghai’s Luijiazui Finance and Trade Zone, adjacent to the Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center. As the newest icon on the Shanghai skyline, Shanghai Tower’s distinctive transparent spiral form will showcase cutting-edge sustainable strategies and public spaces that wrap its perimeter from crown to base. The Tower is currently the tallest building in China and the second in the world to Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Shanghai Tower will house class-A office space, retail, a luxury hotel and cultural venues. The uppermost floors will feature the world’s highest non-enclosed observation deck. The tower’s podium building will offer a high-end retail environment with a major event space. Below-ground facilities include retail, connections to the Shanghai Metro and three floors of parking.

Shanghai Tower is organised as nine cylindrical buildings stacked one on top of each other. The inner layer of the double-skin façade encloses the stacked buildings, while a triangular exterior layer creates the second skin, or building envelope, which gently rotates as it rises. The spaces between the two façade layers create nine atrium sky gardens. Much like plazas and civic squares in traditional cities, the sky atria offer spaces within the Tower for interaction and community with restaurants, cafés, coffee shops and convenience stores, as well as lush landscaping.

With sky gardens lining the tower’s perimeter, Shanghai Tower is literally wrapped in public spaces. Both interior and exterior skins are transparent, establishing a visual connection between the tower’s interiors and Shanghai’s urban fabric. At night the building’s glowing translucent form further highlights interior public spaces. On the ground level, retail and event spaces, in tandem with abundant entrances on the site, further the physical and visual connections between the tower and the city.


Shanghai Tower from the air – courtesy Gensler

Sustainable strategies

In accordance with the goals of the owner, Shanghai Tower Construction and Development Co. Ltd., the tower will be one of the most sustainable tall buildings in the world. Working closely with Thornton Tomasetti and Cosentini, architect Gensler adopted a fully integrated design approach, ensuring all design decisions uphold a sustainable intent.

The façade’s taper, texture and asymmetry work in partnership to reduce wind loads on the building by 24 percent, offering considerable savings overall in both building materials and construction costs. In addition, the building’s spiralling parapet collects rainwater, which is used for the tower’s heating and air conditioning systems. Wind turbines located directly beneath the parapet generate on-site power.

The landscaped atria improve indoor air quality and create comfortable places for people to linger. Shanghai Tower’s owners aim to register for a high level of building certification from the China Green Building Committee and the U.S. Green Building Council.

Project information

Location: Luijiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Pudong district, Shanghai, China
Area: 30,370 square metres
Height: 632 metres
Stories: 128 occupied floors
Area: 380,000 square metres above ground
170,000 square metres below ground
Program: Office, luxury hotel, entertainment, retail and cultural venues
Height: 38 metres
Stories: 5 stories high
Area: 44,000 square metres
Program: Luxury retail, office, hotel lobbies, bank, restaurant, conference, meeting and banquet functions. Lower levels will house retail, parking,service and MEP functions.

Shanghai Tower Construction and Development Co. Ltd.
Design Architect
Local Design Institute
The Architectural Design & Research Institute of Tongji University
Structural Engineers
Thornton Tomasetti
MEP Engineers
Cosentini Associates
Landscape Architect

Source: Gensler, whose contribution of images and information about the project is gratefully acknowledged.

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