Shanghai Tower: The 4th Anniversary of Construction
Xiaomei Lee in Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Tower Construction Update, Shanghai Tower Lead Architect Jun Xia, Tall Building Design, Tall Buildings

Photo credit: Gensler

Recently, Gensler was invited to attend a Shanghai Tower construction briefing. Held periodically when project construction reaches a milestone, this briefing marked the 4th anniversary of construction starting in 2008, as well as the Tower’s height: at 425 meters and 90 floors, it has just surpassed the neighboring Jinmao Tower, the first of the trio of supertalls in Pudong. Shen Jun, Vice Mayor of Shanghai and a number of Shanghai municipal government authorities, including the Commission of Construction & Transportation, the Fire Department, Key-project Commanding Office, and Pudong New Area government attended the event.

With these milestones, Shanghai Tower is now the 3rd tallest structure in Shanghai (soon to be the 2nd), and it’s already a conspicuous part of the new Shanghai skyline. Apart from the height, we have made much progress in many other parts of the project in the past year. As Dan Winey noted in a recent post, façade installation is complete for Zone 2 and Zone 3, putting us well ahead of schedule. The curtain wall’s steel support structure is in place at the 80th floor (370 meters), and mechanical/electrical pipelines have been completed up to the 60th floor.

As the Tower’s project manager at Gensler from day one, I’m really pleased with our achievements so far. I’m especially proud of the collaboration amongst the many teams on site: the Gensler team regularly works with other teams on the site and it’s this collective collaboration that ensures the construction is in line with the original design and proceeding according to schedule.

Although we are thrilled with the construction progress thus far, we are well aware that there’s much work ahead. 2013 will be critical as we have several key milestones this year alone. Specifically:

  1. Core structure completion: At the current pace of one floor every 3-5 days, July will see the completion of the concrete core structure at the height of 580 meters.
  2. Façade installation: both the interior and exterior curtain walls will be installed up to the 7th floor. The schedule is tight due to Shanghai’s unpredictable weather. This is a critical part of the project because it affects the progress inside the building.
  3. Mechanical and electrical installation: This will be the largest portion of this year’s work. Over one billion Chinese yuan will be spent on MEP, requiring more than 2,000 people working on the site on average.
  4. Office interior build: Office space interiors will be built for Zone 2 through Zone 6. Gensler is providing design service for the interiors as well, and we will be working closely with build teams to come up with creative methods to expedite the process.
  5. Crown: After finishing the core structure around the middle of the year, we will immediately start installing the Tower’s crown, a complicated effort with steel structures and many other components like the mass damper, wind turbines, lights, satellites, and façade elements.
  6. Underground pathway: a network of underground passages will start construction connecting buildings in Lujiazui area including links to existing mass transport networks.

Make sure to check back here throughout the year, we will be sure to update you on the milestones we’ve outlined above.

With construction in full swing, it’s exciting to see the variety of teams on site working toward the same goal: Shanghai Tower’s completion at the end of 2014.

Xiaomei Lee’s 20 years of experience in the field of architecture have taken her to complex and innovative project sites in China and throughout the Asia region. Her portfolio includes experience with super-tall high-rise towers, cultural facilities, resorts, office buildings, retail and mixed-use centers, and residential developments. A Principal at the Gensler Shanghai Office, she is passionate about advancing Gensler’s expertise in the super-tall high-rise practice area throughout China. Contact her at
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