De­fy­ing no­tions about sky­scrapers

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Spaces - By XU JUNQIAN

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 632m 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 says. “That can be eas­ily over­taken.”

In fact, it may have al­ready been over­taken. In another Chi­nese city, Shen­zhen, a 739m tower pro­posed by real es­tate de­vel­oper Kingkey Group is await­ing final ap­proval. If built, it will be the world’s sec­ond-tallest af­ter the 828m 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, en­er­gysav­ing, and fun by set­ting up sky­scrapers,” Ge says. “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 14.8bil yuan (RM9.3bil).

It has 132 floors with a to­tal floor space of 575,000sq m and can ac­com­mo­date up to 40,000 peo­ple.

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

Ge speaks 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 light-filled 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% of the space inside the build­ing is des­ig­nated for of­fices and meet­ing rooms. The other 40% 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 says.

It is es­ti­mated that of all its in­tel­li­gent build­ing con­trol sys­tems, the light­ing sys­tem alone will save more than US$556,000 (RM2.3mil) a year in en­ergy costs over older build­ings with sim­i­lar floor space.

Its glass cur­tain – all 14,000sq m of it – 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% sav­ings in struc­tural wind load­ing, com­pared with a rec­tan­gu­lar build­ing of the same height.

Part of a plan to turn Lu-ji­azui into a world-class fi­nan­cial cen­tre 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 neigh­bour­ing 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. – China Daily/ Asia News Net­work

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