Shanghai Tower tallest building in China, completes historical ascensionShanghai Tower redefines the role of tall buildings in contemporary cities and raises the bar for the next generation of super-high risesOn 2nd August, opping out ceremonies were held to mark the completion of the core structure of the Shanghai Tower. The last beam was placed atop the 632-metre building designed by global design and architecture firm Gensler. Shanghai Tower is a beacon of sustainable design strategies, anchoring the city’s Lujiazui commercial district with prominent public spaces in a series of nine vertical communities.“Shanghai Tower represents a new way of defining and creating cities,” said Art Gensler, FAIA, Founder, Gensler. “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-high rises.”Shanghai Tower is located in the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, an area of Shanghai that was farmland a little over 20 years ago. The area is China’s first super-tall district, as Shanghai Tower rises to complete a trio of towers including the adjacent Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center.Shanghai Tower will house Class-A office space, retail, a luxury hotel and cultural venues. The uppermost floors will feature the world’s highest observation deck, while the tower’s podium will offer a high-end retail environment with a major event space. Below-grade facilities include retail, connections to the Shanghai Metro and three floors of parking“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,” said Jun Xia, Shanghai Tower design leader and Gensler principal. “This tower takes inspiration from Shanghai’s tradition of parks and neighbourhoods, recasting that history in a high-density, urban form symbolizing the emergence of modern Shanghai and China.”The project’s developer is the Shanghai Tower Construction & Development Co., Ltd; Thornton Tomasetti is the structural engineer; Cosentini Associates are the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers; and the Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tongji University is the local design institute. The development is slated for completion in 2014.Tower compositionShanghai Tower is organised as nine cylindrical buildings stacked one atop the other. The inner layer of the double-skin façade encloses the stacked buildings, while the exterior façade creates the building envelope, which rotates 120 degrees as it rises and gives Shanghai Tower its distinctive, curving appearance. The spaces between the two-façade layers create nine atrium sky gardens. Much like plazas and civic squares in traditional cities, the public sky atria offer spaces within Shanghai Tower for interaction and community gathering space with restaurants, cafés, coffee shops and convenience stores, as well as lush landscaping throughout. With sky gardens lining its perimeter, Shanghai Tower is literally enveloped in public spaces.Shanghai Tower’s interior and exterior skins are transparent, establishing a visual connection between the tower’s interiors and the urban fabric of Shanghai. On the ground level, retail and event spaces, in tandem with abundant entrances on the site and a subway station under the building, continue the physical and visual connections between the tower and the city.Shanghai Tower will have the world’s fastest elevators, with the Mitsubishi-designed, double-height cabs whisking building occupants and visitors skyward at 40 mph using innovative technologies designed specifically for the tower.Sustainable strategiesSustainability is at the core of Shanghai Tower’s design. The façade’s taper, texture and asymmetry work in partnership to reduce wind loads on the building by 24 per cent, offering a $58 million savings in overall building materials. The building’s transparent inner and outer skins admit maximum natural daylight, thereby reducing the need for electric light. The tower’s outer skin also insulates the building, reducing energy use for heating and cooling. The tower’s spiralling parapet collects rainwater, which is used for the tower’s heating and air-conditioning systems.Wind turbines located directly beneath the parapet generate on-site power for the upper floors of the building, with a 2,130-kW natural gas-fired cogeneration system on-site providing electricity and heat energy to the lower floors. Fully one third of the site will be green space with landscaping that cools the site. Overall, Shanghai Tower’s sustainable strategies will reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 34,000 tonnes per year, and the tower is targeting LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and the China Green Building Three Star rating.