The second tallest building in the world. Shanghai Tower by Gensler

Project: Shanghai Tower

Location: Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Pudong district, Shanghai (China)

Designed by Gensler

A tower to reflect China’s tradition and blooming progress.

Set for completion in 2014, Shanghai Tower will anchor the city’s Lujiazui commercial district, one of Asia’s leading financial centers. Designed by a local team of Gensler architects to embody Shanghai’s rich culture, the 632-meter-high (2,073-foot) mixed-use building will complete the world’s first super-highrise precinct.

The new tower takes inspiration from Shanghai’s tradition of parks and neighborhoods, recast in high-density urban form. Its curved façade and spiraling form symbolize the emergence of modern China as a global financial power, while setting new standards for performance.

Shanghai Tower’s scale and complexity created so many “firsts” for China’s construction industry that more than 100 expert panels were assembled to scrutinize the design. Clay-based soil conditions meant supporting the tower on 1,079 concreteand- steel bore piles driven deep into the ground. To pour the massive mat foundation, a fleet of trucks pumped concrete for 63 hours straight. Now the team has reached a new milestone: the topping out of the building core at 580 meters. Gensler’s design team anticipated that three important strategies – the tower’s asymmetrical form, its tapering profile, and its rounded corners – would allow the building to withstand the typhoon-force winds common to Shanghai.

Using wind tunnel tests, Gensler and structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti refined the tower’s form, which reduced building wind loads by 24 percent. The result is a lighter structure that saved $58 million in costly materials.

The tower is a showcase for technologies that raise the bar for the next generation of super-highrise buildings.

The heart of the structural system is a 90-by-90-foot concrete core, which acts in concert with a system of outriggers and supercolumns. Two-story belt trusses support the base of each zone, marking the divisions of the building into nine zones. This made for a speedier, less costly construction process.

By emphasizing public space and locating shops, restaurants, and urban amenities at the atrium levels, Shanghai Tower embodies a new way of inhabiting supertall towers. Each of the building’s neighborhoods rises from a “sky lobby” at its base – a lightfilled garden atrium that fosters community and supports daily life. The sky lobbies bring people together throughout the day in settings that recall the city’s historic landscaped courtyards.

Shanghai Tower will be one of the most advanced sustainable tall buildings in the world. A central aspect of the design is the transparent second skin that wraps the entire building.

This feature creates atriums that insulate the building, reducing energy use for heating and cooling. Gensler’s design leverages state-of-the-art water conservation practices and highefficiency building system.