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Shanghai Tower Tops Out 

Image © Gensler

Last week I had the opportunity to return to China for a very special milestone - the topping out of the Shanghai Tower. It seems like yesterday, but in fact it was five years ago, that we won the design competition for the tower. Besting Foster & Partners, KPF, and a host of other world-class firms for the honor of constructing China's largest, and the world's second tallest building, gave us our first opportunity to build in the super-tall realm. I knew then how important it would be to call upon our best talent from China and around the world to bring the project to fruition.

Image © Gensler

I attended the topping out ceremonies on the construction site along with 500 guests, including our client, building partners, and media outlets from around the world. The ceremony was a genuine celebration of the building and the excitement was palpable. I also toured the site – all the way to the top. And let me tell you, the view from up there is truly amazing!

Image © Gensler

Standing 120 stories above Shanghai, it was impossible not to reflect on the hundreds of Gensler people from across our firm involved in the project. There is simply no way a building of this size, complexity, and significance can be built without the collaborative spirit a firm like Gensler can bring to the table. From the initial invitation to participate in the design competition, to the tower's design that merges eastern and western cultural influences, to the technical aspects of the facade, and so much more....it never could have happened without the collaboration of so many people across our firm.

I have always believed that Gensler's strength lies in our collective global skill set. We are stronger as a firm when we bring our unique skills, viewpoints and experience to the table. It’s been that way from the beginning when we were a single office in San Francisco, through our expansion across the US, and now more than ever as we grow globally. My recent trip to Shanghai, and the time I spent in our Shanghai office and with our diverse team there, only reinforced what I know from my experience to be true: collaboration is the only way we can create projects that not only exceed the expectations of our clients, but that delight, surprise, and support the people who live, work, and play in the spaces we create.

Art Gensler
Art Gensler is the founder of Gensler.

Reader Comments (5)

Congratulation, Mr. Gensler.
Great moment of architectural career.
08.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHuy
I cannot help but think that we will look back on this project and these days with the similar interest and fascination that we have today for the stories of your first growing years of Gensler & Associates.
08.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdoug wittnebel
One small step for Art, one giant leap for Gensler ... congratulations to everyone who contributed to this!
08.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Gensler
Mr. Gensler,

In searching the daughter of a friend on Facebook, I saw that she worked for your organization and so then I opened Gensler's website and saw the awesome building in Shanghai and read your comments. As a "small town on Long Island, and now New Jersey" girl, I am amazed... not only about the tower but that you started the business that brought that about. As a high school student, I spent some of my time thinking about being an architect, or a dress designer, rather than paying attention to the subject of that moment... but that never materialized because of my self conscious personality. Never sure of myself. Our self worth is so important in doing important things in our life.

However, I did design the house I live in now, which by comparison to the huge Shanghai building, is like a dot on the ocean. It's a small modular house but just right for where I live on the Delaware River in New Jersey, and for my needs.

Just wanted to stop in and say "Hi"... I'm sure you are enjoying the life that you've been able to create for yourself, and especailly proud of your Shanghai creation.

08.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvelyn
Came across this blog when I was doing my research today. As a native Shanghainess, I would like to thank you for creating such an amazing building for the City of Shanghai. I would really love to know about how you managed to work with the construction contractors in China throughout the process.
09.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

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