Three months after mainland China’s tallest building, Shanghai World
Financial Center, opened to tenants in a souring real estate environment
in 2008, ground is being broken just next door in Shanghai for a $2.2
billion building more than one-fourth higher.
Next up is a 632-meter (2,073 ft), 128-floor building dubbed Shanghai
Tower (Shanghai Zhongxing Dasha, Chinese
latest fantastical super-tall shopping, office and hotel skyscraper is
designed to curl heavenward, incorporating “green” elements such as
rainwater capture and wind redirecting technology. Gardens will grow in
between and around what are essentially nine cylindrical buildings
stacked atop one another, all of it visible through a transparent façade.
Nicknamed the Shanghai Dragon, the building is designed by San
Francisco-based Gensler while the design institute of Shanghai’s Tongji
University will act as the local partner. Shanghai Tower will be the tallest
building in China once it is completed in 2014, and the second tallest in
the world, surpassed only by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at
828 meters (2,717 feet).
Gensler chairman Art Gensler promised a sustainable tall building,
explaining: “We’ve lined the perimeter of the tower, top to bottom, with
public spaces, and we’ve integrated strategic environmental thinking into
every move. The tower is a stage that comes to life through the presence
Such a building has been on the drawing board since the early 1990s,
when Shanghai planners designated a trio of skyscrapers for the heart of
a purpose-built financial district called Liujiazhui, Pudong. The first of the
three, the 88-floor, 420-meter Jin Mao Tower opened in 1998 to
laudatory reviews for its stainless steel pagoda-like design. Ten years
later, in August, Japan’s Mori Building Co. took wraps off the 492-meter
building called Shanghai World Financial Center, that was as
controversial as it was delayed. It features a trapezoid-shaped hole at its
top, where a glass-enclosed observation deck offers views from floor 101.