Shanghai Tower, China | CruiseBe
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Shanghai Tower

History and museums
attractions, sightseeing, skyscraper, tower

The Shanghai Tower (Chinese: 上海中心大厦; pinyin: Shànghǎi Zhōngxīn Dàshà; Shanghainese: Zånhe Tsonshin Dusa; literally: "Shanghai Center Tower") is a megatall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. Designed by Gensler and owned by a consortium of Chinese state-owned companies, it is the tallest of a group of three adjacent supertall buildings in Pudong, the other two being the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center. The building is 632 metres (2,073 ft) high and has 128 stories, with a total floor area of 380,000 m2 (4,090,000 sq ft). Its tiered construction, designed for high energy efficiency, provides multiple separate zones for office, retail and leisure use. The exterior of Shanghai Tower was completed in the summer of 2015.

Construction work on the tower began in November 2008. Following its topping out on 3 August 2013, the Shanghai Tower is currently the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world, surpassed only by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It is also China's tallest structure of any kind, surpassing the 600-metre (1,969 ft) Canton Tower in Guangzhou completed in 2010. It was scheduled to open to the public in June 2015, but the building remains out of bound to public as of 16 March 2016 with the exception of the building's lift. It can travel at 18m per second, and is open to visitors.


Planning and funding

Planning models for the Lujiazui financial district dating back to 1993 show plans for a close group of three supertall skyscrapers. The first of these, the Jin Mao Tower, was completed in 1999; the adjacent Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) opened in 2008.

The Shanghai Tower is owned by Shanghai Tower Construction and Development, a consortium of state-owned development companies which includes Shanghai Chengtou Corp., Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development Co. and Shanghai Construction Group. Funding for the tower's construction was obtained from shareholders, bank loans and Shanghai's municipal government. The tower had an estimated construction cost of US$2.4 billion.


The Shanghai Tower was designed by the American architectural firm Gensler, with Chinese architect Jun Xia leading the design team.

The tower takes the form of nine cylindrical buildings stacked atop each other, totalling 121 floors, all enclosed by the inner layer of the glass façade. Between that and the outer layer, which twists as it rises, nine indoor zones provide public space for visitors. Each of these nine areas has its own atrium, featuring gardens, cafés, restaurants and retail space, and providing 360-degree views of the city.

Both layers of the façade are transparent, and retail and event spaces are provided at the tower's base. The transparent façade is a unique design feature, because most buildings have only a single façade using highly reflective glass to lower heat absorption, but the Shanghai Tower's double layer of glass eliminates the need for either layer to be opaqued. The tower is able to accommodate as many as 16,000 people on a daily basis.

The Shanghai Tower joins the Jin Mao Tower and SWFC to form the world's first adjacent grouping of three supertall buildings. Its 258-room hotel, located between the 84th and 110th floors, is to be operated by Jin Jiang International Hotels as the Shanghai Tower J-Hotel, and at the time of its completion it will be the second highest hotel in the world, after the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. The tower will also incorporate a museum. The tower's sub-levels provide parking spaces for 1,800 vehicles.

Vertical transportation system

The vertical transportation system for Shanghai Tower was designed by an American consultant, Edgett Williams Consulting Group with principal Steve Edgett as primary consultant. Working closely with Gensler’s design and technical teams to create a highly efficient core, Edgett created an elevator system in which office floors are served via four sky lobbies each served by double-deck shuttle elevators. Access to the hotel is through a fifth sky lobby at levels 101/102. Each two-level sky lobby serves as a community center for that zone of the building, with such amenities as food and beverage and conference rooms. Local zones are served by single deck elevators throughout the tower, and the Observation Deck at the top of the tower is served by three ultra-high speed shuttle elevators which travel at 1080 mpm, which is the highest speed ever developed for commercial building use. These three shuttle elevators are supplemented by three fireman’s elevators which will significantly increase the visitor throughput to the observation deck at peak usage periods. In the event of a fire or other emergency, the building’s shuttle elevators are designed to evacuate occupants from specially-designed refuge floors located at regular intervals throughout the height of the tower.

In September 2011, the Japanese firm Mitsubishi Electric Corp. announced that it had won a bid to construct the Shanghai Tower's elevator system. Mitsubishi Electric supplied all of the tower's 106 elevators, including three high-speed models capable of travelling at 1,080 metres (3,540 ft) per minute – the equivalent of 64.8 kilometres (40.3 mi) per hour, or 18 metres/second. At the time of their installation in 2014, they were the world's fastest single-deck elevators (18 metres/second) and double-deck elevators (10 metres/second). The building also broke the record for the world's furthest-travelling single elevator, at 578.5 metres (1,898 ft), surpassing the record held by the Burj Khalifa. The Shanghai Tower's tuned mass damper, designed to limit swaying at the top of the structure, was the world's largest at the time of its installation.


The Shanghai Tower incorporates numerous green architecture elements; its owners received certifications from the China Green Building Committee and the U.S. Green Building Council for the building's sustainable design. In 2013, a Gensler spokesman described the tower as "the greenest super high-rise building on earth at this point in time".

The design of the tower's glass facade, which completes a 120° twist as it rises, is intended to reduce wind loads on the building by 24%. This reduced the amount of construction materials needed; the Shanghai Tower used 25% less structural steel than a conventional design of a similar height. As a result, the building's constructors saved an estimated US$58 million in material costs. Construction practices were also optimised for sustainability. Though the majority of the tower's energy will be provided by conventional power systems, vertical-axis wind turbines located near the top of the tower are capable of generating up to 350,000 kWh of supplementary electricity per year. The double-layered insulating glass façade was designed to reduce the need for indoor air conditioning, and is composed of an advanced reinforced glass with a high tolerance for shifts in temperature. In addition, the building's heating and cooling systems use geothermal energy sources.

Floor plans

The following is a breakdown of floor use in the Shanghai Tower:


In 2008, the site – previously a driving range – was prepared for construction. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 29 November 2008, after the tower had passed an environmental impact study. The main construction contractor for the project was Shanghai Construction Group, a member of the consortium that owns the tower.

A repetitive slip-forming process was used to construct the tower's core floor by floor. By late April 2011, the tower's steel reinforcement had risen to the 18th floor, while its concrete core had reached the 15th floor, and floor framing had been completed up to the fourth floor. By late December 2011, the tower's foundations had been completed, and its steel construction had risen above the 30th floor. By early February 2012, the tower's concrete core had risen to a height of 230 metres (750 ft), with around fifty floors completed. In the first months of 2012, cracks began appearing in the roads near the tower's construction site. These were blamed on ground subsidence, which was likely caused by excessive groundwater extraction in the Shanghai area, rather than by the weight of the Shanghai Tower.

By May 2012, the tower's core stood 250 metres (820 ft) high, while floors had been framed to a height of 200 metres (660 ft). By early September 2012, the core had reached a height of 338 metres (1,109 ft). By the end of 2012, the tower had reached the 90th floor, standing approximately 425 metres (1,394 ft) tall. By 11 April 2013, the tower had reached 108 stories, standing over 500 metres (1,600 ft) tall and exceeding the heights of its two neighbouring supertall skyscrapers, the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center.

Construction crews laid the final structural beam of the tower 3 August 2013, thus topping out the tower as China's tallest, and the world's second-tallest, building. A topping-out ceremony was held at the site of the last beam. During the ceremony, Gensler co-founder Art Gensler stated that:

The Shanghai Tower represents a new way of defining and creating cities. By incorporating best practices in sustainability and high-performance design, by weaving the building into the urban fabric of Shanghai and drawing community life into the building, Shanghai Tower redefines the role of tall buildings in contemporary cities and raises the bar for the next generation of super-highrises.

The principal architect of the project, Jun Xia, was quoted as saying, “With the topping out of Shanghai Tower, the Lujiazui trio will serve as a stunning representation of our past, our present and China’s boundless future." Gu Jianping, general manager of the Shanghai Tower Construction Company, expressed the firm's wish "to provide higher quality office and shopping space, as well as contribute to the completeness of the city skyline's and the entire region's functionality".

In January 2014, the tower's crown structure passed the 600-metre (2,000 ft) mark, as its construction entered its final phase. The tower's crown structure was finally completed in August 2014, and its façade was completed shortly after. The tower's interior construction and electrical fitting-out was completed in late 2014, and it was originally to have opened to the public in mid-2015. However, for undisclosed reasons the tower remained unopened in early 2016.

Construction gallery

Urban exploration

In February 2014, two Russian urban explorers, Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov, climbed the under-construction Shanghai Tower through stairs and climbed out to a crane on the tower's top. They released video footage taken from the tower's top. In April 2014, a Malaysian photographer, Keow Wee Loong, also scaled the Shanghai Tower to take photographs.

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