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Entries in Shanghai Tower Construction Update (19)


Shanghai Tower: Q & A with Design Director Jun Xia 

Once construction is completed, Shanghai Tower (pictured on the right) will be the tallest building in Shanghai's Lujiazui Finance and Trade district and the second tallest building in the world.

There is perhaps nothing more symbolic of contemporary China’s rapid development than the mega projects being built in this country. To that point, China Central TV (CCTV) just aired a five-episode documentary series titled “China’s Mega Projects” to showcase the building process behind several of China’s mega projects, all of which rank among the biggest in the world today. Among the five mega projects in this series is the Shanghai Tower designed by Gensler. Almost three years into construction, the Tower stands at a height of 390 meters with 80 stories completed as of the end of September. The hour-long episode featuring the Shanghai Tower has attracted much attention across China, so I sat down with Jun Xia, the project’s Design Director, to discuss the documentary and the project itself.

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The New Urban Planning: Look Upward, not Outward

Super tall buildings like Gensler's Shanghai Tower, which is currently under construction, can help urban planners think in vertical terms instead of horizontal ones.

I like to think of myself as a nomadic architect. I've travelled around Asia for almost 30 years, doing work in many different countries and emerging markets, and learning more than I ever could have anticipated.

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A Decade of Construction in China

When I first went to China in the mid-1990s, I was surprised by the very poor quality of commercial construction. As I crossed the border at Shenzen, I felt as if I had stepped back in time. Most of the buildings were of the post-World War II vintage and most had gone through many years of deferred maintenance. From my perspective, the finest buildings in the country were those built from the mid-1800s to the early turn of the century. Most everything else was poorly designed, poorly constructed, and not worth saving.

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Shanghai Tower: Sustainable Strategies in a Super Tall Building

Shanghai Tower

One of the questions I constantly ask myself is whether a building that has the scale and magnitude of Shanghai Tower can really be considered sustainable in terms of design. From a personal viewpoint, I do not believe the answer to the question of sustainable design is one that is solved by achieving some level of LEED or other certification by an outside agency. I do believe that having these measures forces us to think more clearly about design solutions and provides goals for the design and engineering community. These goals, however, tend to be at a level that rarely challenges us in a significant way.

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Shanghai Tower: Influences on Design

Shanghai Tower

The design of Shanghai Tower derives from three basic ideas related to the city of Shanghai and the rise of China as an economic and cultural influence.

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