Coun­try’s tallest build­ing re­shapes Shang­hai

Chief en­gi­neer pur­sues ef­fi­ciency, com­mu­nity, fun in sky­scrapers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By XU JUNQIAN in Shang­hai xu­jun­qian@chi­

He built China’s tallest sky­scraper — as well as the world’s sec­ond-high­est one — but Ge Qing, chief en­gi­neer and ar­chi­tect of Shang­hai Tower, isn’t con­tent with merely re­shap­ing the city’s sky­line.

Ge and his team of more than 1,000 staff mem­bers are hop­ing the 632-me­ter struc­ture, which of­fi­cially opened in April, will im­prove the way peo­ple live and work in megac­i­ties such as Shang­hai, whose pop­u­la­tion ex­ceeds 24 mil­lion.

“There’s no point in build­ing a sky­scraper just for height’s sake, or for the crown of be­ing the coun­try’s, con­ti­nent’s or world’s high­est,” he said. “That can be eas­ily over­taken.”

In fact, it may have al­ready been over­taken. In Shenzhen, a 739-me­ter tower pro­posed by real es­tate developer Kingkey Group is await­ing fi­nal ap­proval. If built, it will be the world’s sec­ond-tallest after the 828me­ter Burj Khal­ifa in Dubai.

Ge has his own mo­tives. “What we want to achieve and, ideally, demon­strate to devel­op­ers and de­sign­ers of sky­scrapers around the world is how to make liv­ing and work­ing in highly pop­u­lated cities more ef­fi­cient, en­ergy-sav­ing and fun by set­ting up sky­scrapers,” Ge said. “That’s the sig­nif­i­cance of in­vest­ing so much in hav­ing a sky­scraper.”

Standing in the heart of Lu­ji­azui, Shang­hai’s fi­nan­cial hub, the Shang­hai Tower was built at a cost of 14.8 bil­lion yuan ($2.2 bil­lion). It has 132 floors with a to­tal floor space of 575,000 square me­ters and can ac­com­mo­date up to 40,000 peo­ple.

It is the first time a sky­scraper in China has ex­ceeded 600 me­ters in height. It runs the world’s fastest el­e­va­tor, at 18 me­ters per sec­ond and has a LEED Plat­inum cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, the world’s most widely ap­plied green build­ing rat­ing.

“Shang­hai Tower shows China’s re­spon­si­bil­ity and com­mit­ment to the world to im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment and boost the health of its peo­ple,” said Ma­hesh Ra­manu­jam, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of the US Green Build­ing Coun­cil, which is­sues the LEED rat­ings.

Ge spoke of the in­no­va­tion be­hind the build­ing: “What we are do­ing ac­tu­ally de­fies peo­ple’s no­tions about the high cost of build­ing and run­ning a sky­scraper.”

By sep­a­rat­ing the 132 floors into nine sec­tions and equip­ping each with at least one “float­ing lobby” and a light­filled gar­den atrium, the build­ing al­lows its users to have meals, shop and meet peo­ple with­out go­ing all the way to the ground, where shops and restau­rants are usu­ally lo­cated in a tall build­ing.

The 114 el­e­va­tors run­ning in­side the build­ing have been ar­ranged like metro lines head­ing to dif­fer­ent floors and at dif­fer­ent speeds. Six so-called tran­si­tion floors for el­e­va­tors have been set aside.

About 60 per­cent of the space in­side the build­ing is des­ig­nated for of­fices and meet­ing rooms. The other 40 per­cent is for restau­rants, shops, a mu­seum and a lux­ury ho­tel, which is yet to open. Atop the build­ing is an ob­ser­va­tion deck for sight­seers to get a bird’s-eye view of the city.

“It’s also more ef­fi­cient and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly be­cause dur­ing non­work hours the of­fice ar­eas switch into a low-en­ergy mode,” Ge said.

It is es­ti­mated that of all its in­tel­li­gent build­ing con­trol sys­tems, the light­ing sys­tem alone will save more than $556,000 a year in en­ergy costs over older build­ings with sim­i­lar floor space.

Its glass cur­tain — all 14,000 square me­ters — man­ages not only to help the build­ing with­stand strong winds (like “dress­ing the build­ing in a skirt and al­low­ing it to swing slightly”) but also achieves 24 per­cent sav­ings in struc­tural wind load­ing, com­pared with a rec­tan­gu­lar build­ing of the same height.

Part of a plan to turn Lu­ji­azui into a world-class fi­nan­cial cen­ter for top com­pa­nies and cor­po­rate head­quar­ters, Shang­hai Tower was first brought to the ta­ble in 1993, after the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment had de­cided to de­velop Pudong New Area. The build­ing was ap­proved for plan­ning in 2006.

To­gether with two neigh­bor­ing tow­ers — Jin­mao and Shang­hai World Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter — it com­pletes a trio of sig­na­ture sky­scrapers that have re­de­fined the land­scape of east Shang­hai.

Since its of­fi­cial open­ing, the tower has re­ceived 11,000 vis­i­tors a day on av­er­age.

There’s no point in build­ing a sky­scraper just for height’s sake.” Ge Qing, chief en­gi­neer of the Shang­hai Tower, China’s high­est sky­scraper


Shang­hai Tower (left), Jin­mao Tower (mid­dle) and Shang­hai World Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter in Jan­uary.

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