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The Shanghai World Financial Center, China-The bottle Opener

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: The Shanghai World Financial Center, China-The bottle Opener Reply with quote

The Shanghai World Financial Center, China

Location      100 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai, China
Completed      2008
Cost      USD $ 1.20 billion
Architectural      492.0 m
Tip      494.3 m
Roof      487.4 m
Top floor      474.0 m
Observatory      474 m
Technical details
Floor count      101
Floor area      381,600 m2
Elevators      91
Design and construction
Owner      Shanghai World Financial Center Co., Ltd.
Architect      Kohn Pedersen Fox
Developer      Mori Building Co.
Structural engineer      Leslie E. Robertson Associates RLLP
Main contractor      China State Construction Engineering Corp and Shanghai Construction (Group) General Co.

The Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) is a skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and developed by the Japanese Mori Building Company. It is a mixed-use skyscraper, consisting of offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks, and ground-floor shopping malls. Park Hyatt Shanghai is the hotel component, containing 174 rooms and suites. Occupying the 79th to the 93rd floors, it is the second-highest hotel in the world, surpassing the Grand Hyatt Shanghai on the 53rd to 87th floors of the neighboring Jin Mao Tower.

On 14 September 2007, the skyscraper was topped out at 492.0 meters making it, at the time, the second-tallest building in the world and the tallest structure in Mainland China. It also had the highest occupied floor and the highest height to roof, two categories used to determine the title of "world’s tallest building". The SWFC opened on 28 August 2008, with its observation deck opening on 30 August. This observation deck, the world's tallest at the time of its completion, offers views from 474 m  above ground level.

The SWFC has been lauded for its design, and in 2008 it was named by architects as the year's best completed skyscraper. The SWFC will be exceeded in height by the adjacent Shanghai Tower, which is due for completion in 2014. Together, the SWFC, Shanghai Tower and Jin Mao Tower will form the world's first adjacent grouping of three supertall skyscrapers.


Designed by American architectural firm 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 was later paused to accommodate design changes by the Mori Building Company. The building of the tower was financed by several multinational firms, including Chinese, Japanese, and Hong Kong banks, as well as by the Japanese developer and American and European investors. The American investment bank Morgan Stanley coordinated the tower's financing for Mori Building.


The tower's foundation stone was laid on 27 August 1997. In the late 1990s, the Pierre de Smet Building Corporation suffered a funding shortage caused by the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, which halted the project after the foundations were completed. On 13 February 2003, the Mori Group increased the building's height to 492 m  and 101 stories, from the initial plans for a 460-metre, 94-story building. The new building used the foundations of the original design, and construction work was resumed on 16 November 2003.

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

The building reached its total height of 492 m  on 14 September 2007 after the installation of the final steel girder. The final cladding panels were installed in mid-June 2008, and elevator installation was finished in mid-July. The Shanghai World Financial Center was completed on 17 July 2008, and was officially opened on 28 August. On 30 August 2008, the tower's observation floors were opened to the public.


The most distinctive feature in the design of the building is a trapezoid aperture at the peak. The original design specified a circular aperture, 46 m in diameter, to reduce the stresses of wind pressure, as well as serve as a subtext for the design, since "Chinese mythology represents the earth with a square and the sky with a circle". It also resembled a Chinese moon gate due to its circular form in Chinese architecture. However, this initial design began facing protests from some Chinese, including the mayor of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, 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, would also be cheaper and easier to implement according to the architects. Foreigners and Chinese alike informally refer to the building as the bottle opener, as some also find the Kingdom Centre in Riyadh. In fact, metal replicas of the building that function as actual bottle openers are sold in the observation deck gift shop.
The top of the building, with the aperture clearly visible.

The top of the building, with the aperture clearly visible

There are three observation decks in Shanghai World Financial Center. The height of the lowest observation deck (The first is at 423 m, on the 94th floor, the second is at 439 m, on the 97th floor, named "Observatory Bridge" , and the highest is at 474 m high, on the 100th floor. Admission fees range from US$15.40 for the 94th floor only, to US$23.10 for all three observation decks.

The skyscraper's roof height is set at 492 m, and has temporarily claimed the highest roof in the world. Before construction resumed on the roof, tower height was scheduled to be 509.2 m so the building would hold the title of the world's 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 One World Trade Center, calling the Shanghai WFC a "broad-shouldered building". The SWFC boasts a gross floor area of more than 377,300 m2 , 31 elevators, and 33 escalators.

Structural efficiency

The SWFC, Jin Mao Tower and incomplete Shanghai Tower (far right) in profile. The Shanghai Tower will be the tallest building in Shanghai when its construction is completed in 2014.

The tower's trapezoid aperture is made up of structural steel and reinforced concrete. The Mega-Structure concept was adopted to resist the forces from typhoon (hurricane) winds and earthquakes. It consists of three parallel and interacting structural systems:
• The mega-structure, consisting of the major structural columns, the diagonals, and the belt trusses.
• The concrete shear walls of the services core.
• As created by the outrigger trusses, the interaction between these concrete walls and the mega-columns

Driven by the architectural form and by the limitations of the existing foundation piling, the new structural system reduced the cost of the structure and provided for speedier construction. KPF was able to capitalize on the presence of the outrigger trusses by incorporating them into the architectural design of the sky lobby floors.

Seeking to improve the quality of office spaces located on each of the four orthogonal faces, the new structural system decreased the perimeter framing from the seventeen wide columns of the moment-resisting frame to a maximum of just three narrow columns. Depending on the breadth of the two sloping faces, there is at most only one narrow column along its width. Hence, building occupants will be provided an extraordinary sense of openness and unparalleled views of the surrounding city of Shanghai.The mega-structure is displayed subtly behind the facade of the building. Architecturally founded on a heavy stone base, the mega-structure gives the impression of both strength and of permanence.

The diagonals of the mega- structure are formed from welded boxes of structural steel. These steel boxes are in-filled with concrete, thus providing increased stiffness, non-linear structural behavior, and structural damping. The advantages of concrete infill are likewise used in the upper reaches of the building where it is used to enhance shear stud connectors and stabilize against buckling of the thin steel plates comprising the diagonals.


Shanghai World Financial Center was named by architects as the best skyscraper completed in 2008, receiving both the Best Tall Building Overall and Asia & Australasia awards from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). CTBUH's Carol Willis, head of New York's Skyscraper Museum, stated: "The simplicity of its form as well as its size dramatizes the idea of the skyscraper." Architect Tim Johnson noted its innovative structural design: "Steel trusses gird against the forces of wind and earthquake and made the building lighter, made it use less steel, and contributed to its sustainability." Johnson described the SWFC's structure as "nothing short of genius."

Source and more details at:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_World_Financial_Center
  • http://www.ctbuh.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=tgEDWHFTVxU%3D&tabid=1090&language=en-US
  • http://www.structuremag.org/Archives/2007-6/SF-Shanghai-Robertson-June07.pdf
  • http://www.ctbuh.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=Mk%2FF0YIUK5E%3D&tabid=62&language=en-GB
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