In early 2015, when the Shanghai Tower makes its public debut after six years of
construction, the 2,073-foot (632-meter) building will be the tallest in China—and
the second tallest in the world.
Built on former farmland in eastern Shanghai, the tower sits on an active
earthquake zone frequently rocked by typhoon-force winds. To mitigate the risk
of structural damage, the project team supported the tower—comprising nine
stacked, cylindrical buildings, each 12 to 15 stories high—with more than 1,000
concrete-and-steel piles sunk 18 feet ( 5 meters) into the ground. In addition, the
skyscraper’s 120-degree twisting design reduces wind loads by 24 percent. This
geometry also saved the project US$58 million in construction materials.
A transparent second skin wraps around the building and acts like a thermos,
retaining heat in the winter and buffering the structure from the sun’s rays in
warmer months. Wind-powered generators will provide the tower’s external
lighting. Compared to a conventionally built equivalent skyscraper, the tower’s 43
sustainable technologies will reduce energy consumption by 21 percent.
PROJECT: Shanghai Tower
BUDGET: US$2.4 billion STORIES: 121
TO THE TOP: Reaching speeds of 40 miles
( 64 kilometers) per hour, the skyscraper’s
106 elevators will be the world’s fastest.
“It’s the greenest super high-rise
building on earth at this point in time.”
—Dan Winey, Asia managing principal for Gensler, the U.S. architecture
firm that designed the Shanghai Tower, to the Financial Times