Shanghai Tower Update: Lighting the Building and Preparing it for Occupancy 
Robert Price in Design in Asia, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Tower Construction Update, Shanghai Tower Lead Architect Jun Xia, Tall Buildings

The Shanghai Tower Image © Gensler

NOTE: This post has been updated to include more current information on the Shanghai Tower.


Despite of challenges posed by Shanghai’s unpredictable weather and the logistical hurdles inherent to building super-tall structures, the Shanghai Tower is almost complete. It’s now looking like the Tower’s tenants will start to fit out their spaces in the coming spring and summer, pending permitting approvals and other reviews. The design and construction team’s next mission: finalize the site, complete the interior finishes, and commission all of the building’s special features, such as the wind turbines, rainwater collection systems throughout the structure, and seasonal exterior lighting elements.

At first glance, the Tower’s most notable change is not in the upper floors, which have been completed for quite some time, but at ground level. Crews installed full-size trees and shrubs at the Tower’s main entrances. Most of the site trailers that housed construction workers and others have been removed from the project site to make way for the completion of pedestrian walkways and other access points. Ramps to lower level parking areas are currently being completed. Connections to underground tunnels and metro access are also being finalized.

More than 60 of the Tower’s 120 occupiable floors are mostly complete; they are now being readied for future tenants. The 8th floor leasing office is functional. In it, the Tower’s real estate team is in the process of considering clients for the building’s leasable spaces. Mockups for landscaping and lighting within the double-skin atria have also started.

The Tower's podium includes a 19,000 square foot space capable of hosting special events. Image © Gensler

With so much already finished and so much now in the hands of our able construction partners, our design team has narrowed its focus to the building podium, on which all of Shanghai Tower’s 2,073 feet (632 meters) rest. The podium will feature 50,000 square feet of gross floor area (GFA) for retail space. This includes the building’s underground levels. The client has commissioned several local artists to create various art installations throughout the public areas. We are coordinating the art installation details at present. The podium will also include a multifunction room. This 19,000 square foot space can be divided into three separate rooms for special events of large scale. The multifunction space has a 33 foot clear ceiling so large elements can easily be featured. The space is one of the largest in the Lujiazui area. No space of this size exists in Shanghai east of the Huangpu River.

The best way to experience the most recent changes to Shanghai Tower is to look upon the site at night. From the perspective of the bund, Shanghai Tower comes across as a profound statement about the development of the city’s financial district. The towers lighting features will highlight not just the site landscaping, but also the building façade; interior and exterior lights are being tested for final delivery. The recessed part of the building façade can display letters and characters in many languages up and down this part of the building. The crown will also feature special lighting effects and display the tower logo as well many other images.

As we approach the Chinese New Year 2015, the project, once considered a longshot by people within our firm, has become reality and an icon of the Shanghai skyline.

Image © Gensler

Robert Price is a senior associate in Gensler's Shanghai office. He has more than 25 years of experience in corporate interiors, retail and commercial architecture. Contact him at
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