China’s tallest building dramatically twists skywards from its footing in Lùjiāzuǐ. The 121-storey 632m-tall Gensler-designed Shànghǎi Tower topped out in August 2013 and was set to fully open in 2015/2016. The spiral-shaped tower will house office space, entertainment venues, retail outlets, a conference centre, a luxury hotel and ‘sky lobbies’. The gently corkscrewing form – its nine interior cylindrical units wrapped in two glass skins – is the world’s second-tallest building at the time of writing.
The twist is introduced by the outer skin of glass which swivels though 120 degrees as it rises, while atrium ‘sky gardens’ in the vertical spaces sandwiched between the two layers of glass open up a large volume of the tower to public use. The tower is sustainably designed: as well as providing insulation, the huge acreage of glass will vastly reduce electrical consumption through the use of sunlight. The tower’s shape furthermore reduces wind loads by 24%, which generated a saving of US$58m in construction costs. Before the tower even went up, engineers were faced with building the 61,000 m³ concrete mat that would support its colossal mass in the boggy land of Pǔdōng.
Uppermost floors of the tower will be reserved for that obligatory Shànghǎi attraction - the world’s highest skydeck above ground level - with passengers ferried skywards in the world’s fastest lifts (40mph), designed by Mitsubishi (and the world’s tallest single-lift elevator). Visitors will be able to gaze down on the both the Jīnmào Tower and Shànghǎi World Financial Center below. A six-level luxury retail podium will fill the base of the tower.