Essential Architecture- Shanghai

Shanghai World Financial Center


Kohn Pedersen Fox
Structural Engineer Leslie E. Robertson Associates RLLP
Contractor China State Costruction Engineering Corp. and Shanghai Construction (Group) General Co.


Pudong, Shanghai, China






Roof 492.0 m (1,614.2 ft) 101 floors
Floor area 377,300 m² (4,061,223 sq ft)
Elevator count 31
Cost 8.17 billion RMB (approx. $1 billion USD)


Office Building, hotel, museum, observation, parking garage, retail
The Shanghai World Financial Center (simplified Chinese: 上海环球金融中心; traditional Chinese: 上海環球金融中心; pinyin: Shànghǎi huánqiú jīnróng zhōngxīn) is a supertall skyscraper under construction in Shanghai, China. It is a mixed use skyscraper which will consist of office spaces, hotel rooms, conference rooms, observation decks and shops on the ground floors. The hotel component will open with 175 rooms and suites in mid-2008 as the Park Hyatt Shanghai.

On September 14, 2007 the skyscraper was topped out at 492 meters (1,614 ft) and became the tallest structure in China, including Hong Kong, as well as the world's third tallest building (including unfinished ones).

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, the 101-story tower was originally planned for construction in 1997, but work was temporarily interrupted by the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s and later to accommodate design changes by the developer. The building of the tower is financed by several multinational firms, including Japanese, Chinese, and Hong Kong banks, as well as by the Japanese developer and as-yet unnamed American and European investors. American investment bank Morgan Stanley is coordinating the financing for Mori Building. It's construction ending is set in 2008.


The aperture under construction at the top of the building

The most distinctive feature in the design of the building is an aperture at the peak. The circular aperture, 150 feet (46 m) in diameter, originally was meant to reduce the stresses of wind pressure, but also served well as a subtext for the design, since "Chinese mythology represents the earth with a square and the sky with a circle". It also bears the resemblance of a Chinese moon gate due to its circular form, but this initial design began facing protests from some Chinese, including the mayor of Shanghai, who considered it too similar to the rising sun design of the Japanese flag. Pedersen then suggested that a bridge be placed at the bottom of the aperture to make it less circular. On 18 October 2005, KPF submitted an alternative design to Mori Building and a trapezoidal hole replaced the circle at the top of the tower, which in addition to changing the controversial design, will also be cheaper and easier to implement according to the architects. An observation deck on the 100th floor is also now part of the final design.

The skyscraper's roof height has been set at 492 m, and when completed in early 2008 is expected to temporarily have the highest roof in the world. Before construction resumed on the roof, tower height was scheduled to be 510 m (1,673 ft) so the building would hold the title of the worlds tallest building (structural top) over the Taipei 101, but a height limit was imposed, allowing the roof to reach a maximum height of 492 m. Architect William Pedersen and developer Minoru Mori have resisted suggestions to add a spire that would surpass that of Taipei 101 and perhaps the Freedom Tower, calling the Shanghai WFC a "broad-shouldered building". Even so, its roof height will be the third highest in the world after the Burj Dubai complex and Chicago Spire. Upon completion SWFC will boast a gross floor area of more than 377,300m² and feature 31 elevators and 33 escalators.

The foundation stone was laid on August 27, 1997. In the late 1990s the Japanese Mori Building Corporation had a fund shortage caused by the Asian financial crisis in 1997 to 1998 , which halted the project after the foundations were completed. On February 13, 2003, the Mori Group increased the building's height to 492 m and 101 stories from the initial plans for a 460 m (1,509 ft), 94-story building. The new building will use the foundation of the original design. The building construction resumed on November 16, 2003.

The building reached its total height of 492 m on September 14th, 2007 after installation of the final steel girder.


Fire breaks out on the 40th floor

SWFC had encountered a fire accident on August 14, 2007. The fire was first noticed on the 40th floor, around 16:30 PM (GMT +8), and soon the smoke was clearly seen outside the building. By 17:45, the fire had been eliminated. The damage was reported to be slight and nobody was injured in this accident. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but according to some sources the preliminary investigation suggested workers' electric welding caused the fire.


SWFC official website
Mori Building Co. Shanghai WFC project page diagram of Shanghai WFC
  1. ^ Shanghai World Financial Center - Retrieved on 2008-04-10.
  2. ^ Shanghai tops out world's third-tallest building. Retrieved on 2008-04-10.
  3. ^ Shanghai World Financial Center - Retrieved on 2008-04-10.
  4. ^ Shanghai Daily - "Shanghai skyline gets new tallest landmark"
  5. ^ Lubow, Arthur. The China Syndrome. New York Times, 21 May 2006.
  6. ^ Ibid.
  7. ^ PBS - Innovation: Life, Inspired - "Building to Extremes" transcript
  8. ^ Shanghai World Financial Center (facts)
  9. ^ People's Daily Online - "Construction of Shanghai World Financial Center resumes"
  10. ^ Guardian Unlimited - "Rising Up"
  11. ^ Fire breaks out at troubled Shanghai World Financial Center
  12. ^ Shanghai World Financial Center catches fire
  13. ^ China's Tallest Building Catches Fire