shanghai tower by gensler is the world's second tallest building

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.Find the latest shanghai news, photos, videos and featured stories on Shine News. SHINE provides trusted national and world news as well as local and regional perspectives.
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.’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.
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.
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.

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