Shanghai World Financial Center, SWFC Building, Picture, Architect, Project, Height

Shanghai WFC Tower : World Financial Center China

Chinese Skyscraper Development – design by KPF

23 Nov 2013

Shanghai World Financial Center

Shanghai, China
Architects : Kohn Pedersen Fox – KPF

Tallest building in China, and contains the highest observation deck in the world

24 + 23 Jan 2013

World’s 3rd equal fastest Elevators

Shanghai World Financial Center - WFC Tower
photo : ThyssenKrupp Elevator AG

492 m high 1,614 ft high

101 storeys

Shanghai World Financial Center
photo © Dennis Remmelzwaal

Shanghai World Financial Center – Description

A square prism-the symbol used by the ancient Chinese to represent the earth-is intersected by two cosmic arcs, representing the heavens, as the tower ascends in gesture to the sky. The interaction between these two realms gives rise to the building’s form, carving a square sky portal at the top of the tower that lends balance to the structure and links the two opposing elements-the heavens and the earth.

Soaring 101 stories above the city skyline, the Shanghai World Financial Center stands as a symbol of commerce and culture that speaks to the city’s emergence as a global capital. It features the highest occupied floor and highest public observatory in the world, and was recently recognized by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as the Best Tall Building in the World 2008.

Shanghai World Financial Center
photo © Dennis Remmelzwaal

A virtual city within a city, the 381,600-gross-square-meter SWFC houses a mix of office and retail uses, as well as a Park Hyatt Hotel on the 79th to 93rd floors. Occupying the tower’s uppermost floors, the SWFC Sky Arena offers visitors aerial views of the historic Lujiazui and winding river below and the chance to literally walk almost 500 meters above the city via the 100th-floor Sky Walk. A large retail volume wraps around the base of the tower and faces a planned public park on the site’s eastern side, further activating the sphere of activity at street level.

The elemental forms of the heavens and the earth are used again in the design of the building’s podium where an angled wall representing the horizon cuts through the overlapping circle and square shapes. The wall’s angle creates a prominent façade for the landscaped public space on the tower’s western side, and organizes the ground level to provide separate entrances for office workers, hotel guests and public access to express elevator service for Sky Walk visitors. The wall is expressed in Jura yellow limestone, and the base of the tower is clad in Maritaca green Brazilian granite with a split-face finish, which contrast beautifully with the metal of the circular wall and diaphanous glass skin enveloping the retail volume.

Originally conceived in 1993, the project was put on hold during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s and was later redesigned to its current height-32 meters higher than previous. The new, taller structure would not only have to be made lighter, but would need to resist higher wind loads and utilize existing foundations which had been constructed prior to the project delay. The project’s structural engineer, Leslie E. Robertson Associates, arrived at an innovative structural solution which abandoned the original concrete frame structure in favor of a diagonal-braced frame with outrigger trusses coupled to the columns of the mega-structure. This enabled the weight of the building to be reduced by more than 10%, consequently reducing the use of materials and resulting in a more transparent structure in visual and conceptual harmony with the tower’s elegant form.

The CTBUH says of the project: “The building has become an icon of Shanghai and China, with its clear and elegant form dramatic at all scales. (It) speaks to where tall building design is now….the building’s structure is nothing short of genius.”

Shanghai World Financial Center
photo © Andrew McRae

Shanghai World Financial Center – Building Information

Client: Shanghai World Financial Center Corporation, a subsidiary of Mori Building Company

Program: Mixed-use: office, hotel, retail, gallery and observation deck

Size: 4 million sqft / 381,600 sqm

Associate Architects:
Mori Building Architects & Engineers, Project Architect
East China Architectural Design & Research Institute, Local Design Institute
Irie Miyake, Executive Architect

– McGraw-Hill Construction 3rd Bi-Annual “Good Design Is Good Business” China Awards, Best Commercial Project (2010)
– AIA New York Chapter Award of Merit (2009)
– MIPIM Asia Awards – Best Chinese Project Category (2009)
– MIPM Asia Awards – Mixed-use Buildings Category (2009)
– MIPIM Asia Awards – Participants’ Choice Award (2009)
– Society of American Registered Architects Awards Design Award of Excellence (2009)
– American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
National Engineering Excellence Awards Honor Award (2009)
– HKIA Honor Award for Architecture (2008)
– Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Best Tall Building: Worldwide (2008)
– Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Best Tall Building: Asia/Australasia (2008)
– American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) New York Chapter
Diamond Award for Structural Systems (2008)
– Barcelona Meeting Point Awards Best International Real Estate Project (2003)
– AIA New York City Chapter Project Design Award (1995)

Height: 492 m – 1614 ft
Storeys: 101
Observatory on Levels 101 & 94
Developer: Minoru Mori – Mori Building Co., Ltd.

Due to be tallest building in the world briefly in 2008 (ie tallest ignoring spires), but the building has no spires proposed at time of writing.

Shanghai World Financial Center images / information from KPF


Location: Shanghai, China

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Comments / photos for the Shanghai World Financial Center Architecture page welcome