rising 632 meters (2,073 feet) and 127 floors into the air, ‘shanghai tower’ is the tallest building in china and the second tallest in the world. construction work on the project began in 2008, with the gensler-designed skyscraper now open in lujiazui — the city’s bustling financial district. conceived as a ‘self-contained city’, the tower comprises nine vertical zones that range between 12 and 15 stories. at the base of the structure, zone 1 contains retail and conference outlets, while zones 2-6 offer office space. zone 7 houses a hotel, with further hotels and boutique outlets found in zone 8. finally, observation levels are included at the peak in zone 9.

shanghai tower
the building is the tallest in china and the second tallest in the world
image © blackstation (main image © connie zhou)

 

 

in developing the supertall mixed-use structure, gensler took inspiration from shanghai’s small-scale courtyards by recasting them within a spiraling form. ‘instead of parks spread horizontally across the city, the tower provides gathering spaces stacked vertically,’ explain the architects. ‘these are the innovative sky gardens that set the building apart from any highrise ever built. by emphasizing public space and locating shops, restaurants and urban amenities at the atrium levels, shanghai tower provides a new experience for living and working in supertall towers.’

shanghai tower
the skyscraper rises 632 meters (2,073 feet) and 127 floors into the air
image © blackstation

 

 

in order to withstand the typhoon-force winds that are common to the region, the architects designed an asymmetric form with a tapered profile and rounded corners — a form that reduced wind loads by 24% and saved $58 million USD in materials. however, the unique shape also meant that traditional CAD tools were not sufficient. instead, gensler and engineers thornton tomasetti used parametric software with precise tolerances achieved by placing lasers on the site to take exact measurements.

shanghai tower
the architects designed an asymmetric form with a tapered profile and rounded corners
image © blackstation

 

 

the tower rises around a central ‘trunk’ (a concrete core and steel supercolumns) with ‘branches’ supporting refuge and mechanical floors at the base of each zone. designed by mitsubishi electric, the project also includes three express elevators (believed to be the world’s fastest) that exceed speeds of 18 m/sec (40mph). meanwhile, the tower’s skin comprises 20,000 curtain wall panels suspended from above on cantilevered trusses.

shanghai tower
retail outlets and conference facilities are contained within a podium at the base of the structure
image © connie zhou

 

 

from a sustainability standpoint, shanghai tower employs a number of different strategies to save energy, including water conservation practices and integrated landscaping. the building’s transparent second skin provides insulation, reducing the need for heating and cooling, while the use of glass limits the need for electric lighting. meanwhile, 270 wind turbines (built into the façade at the crown of the building) power the exterior lighting. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

shanghai tower
the use of glass limits the need for electric lighting
image © connie zhou

 

a detailed look at the building’s double skin
video courtesy of gensler

shanghai tower
20,000 curtain wall panels are suspended from above on cantilevered trusses
image © connie zhou

shanghai tower
precise tolerances were achieved by using lasers to take exact measurements
image © connie zhou

 

a short video depicts the tower as it nears completion
video courtesy of gensler

shanghai tower
the design comprises water conservation practices and integrated landscaping
image © connie zhou

shanghai tower
the project takes inspiration from shanghai’s small-scale courtyards
image © connie zhou

shanghai tower
construction work on the project began in 2008
image © blackstation

shanghai tower
‘shanghai tower’ is located in lujiazui — the city’s bustling financial district
image © blackstation

 

 

  • “in developing the supertall mixed-use structure, gensler took inspiration from shanghai’s small-scale courtyards”.
    If truly so, has to be said it doesn’t really come across in the pictures; well, not to this observer. But the pics are quite good nonetheless.

    nic bailey says:
  • I don’t get a feeling of what it’s like from inside offices. The extra glass wall would seem to add an extra remove from the outside, which perhaps is what you want at 500 meters up? Also, it’s surprising that the extra glass wall wouldn’t add a bunch of extra cost.

    James says:

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