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Shanghai World Financial Center

Shanghai World Financial Center
The Shanghai World Financial Center in July 2010
General information
Status Complete
Type Office, hotel, museum, observation, parking garage, retail
Architectural style Neo-Futurism
Location 100 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai, China
Construction started 27 August 1997
Completed 2008
Opening 28 August 2008
Cost RMB ¥ 8.17 billion
(USD $ 1.20 billion)
Owner Shanghai World Financial Center Co., Ltd.
Architectural 492.0 m (1,614.2 ft)
Tip 494.3 m (1,621.7 ft)
Roof 487.4 m (1,599.1 ft)
Top floor 474.0 m (1,555.1 ft)
Observatory 474 m (1,555.1 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 101 (3 below ground)
Floor area 381,600 m2 (4,107,500 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators 91
Design and construction
Architect Kohn Pedersen Fox
Developer Mori Building Co.
Structural engineer Leslie E. Robertson Associates RLLP
Main contractor China State Construction Engineering Corp and Shanghai Construction (Group) General Co.

The Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC; Chinese: 上海环球金融中心) is a supertall skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and developed by the Mori Building Company, with Leslie E. Robertson Associates as its structural engineer and China State Construction Engineering Corp and Shanghai Construction (Group) General Co. as its main contractor. It is a mixed-use skyscraper, consisting of offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks, and ground-floor shopping malls. Park Hyatt Shanghai is the tower's hotel component, comprising 174 rooms and suites occupying the 79th to the 93rd floors, and constituting the second-highest hotel in the world after the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, which occupies floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Centre.[5]

On 14 September 2007, the skyscraper was topped out and is 492 meters (1,614.2 ft),[1][3] making it the 8th tallest building in the world and the fourth tallest structure in Mainland China. The SWFC opened to the public on 28 August 2008, with its observation deck opening on 30 August. The observation deck offers views from 474 m (1,555 ft) above ground level.[6]

The SWFC has been lauded for its design, and in 2008 it was named by architects as the year's best completed skyscraper.[7][8] In 2013, the SWFC was exceeded in height by the adjacent Shanghai Tower,[9] which is China's tallest structure as of 2015. Together, the Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai Tower and Jin Mao Tower form the world's first adjacent grouping of three supertall skyscrapers.


  • History 1
    • Construction 1.1
  • Architecture 2
    • Structural efficiency 2.1
  • Awards 3
  • Gallery 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Designed by American architectural firm

Preceded by
Jin Mao Tower
Tallest building in China
487.4 m (1,599.1 ft)

Succeeded by
Shanghai Tower
Preceded by
Jin Mao Tower
Tallest building in Shanghai
Succeeded by
Shanghai Tower
Preceded by
Taipei 101
World's highest roof
487.4 m (1,599.1 ft)

Succeeded by
Burj Khalifa
  • Shanghai WFC official website
  • Kohn Pedersen Fox Shanghai WFC project page
  • Mori Building Co. Shanghai WFC project page
  • Shanghai WFC on CTBUH's Skyscraper Center database
  • The Shanghai WFC: a case study on Constructalia
  • data page on the Shanghai WFC
  • Window cleaners at work on the Shanghai WFC (video from the observation deck)

External links

  1. ^ a b "Shanghai World Financial Center – The Skyscraper Center". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Shanghai World Financial Center". Retrieved 10 April 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Shanghai World Financial Center". Emporis. 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Shanghai tops out world's third-tallest building". China Daily. 15 September 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Park Hyatt Shanghai To Open In 2008". China Hospitality News. 19 November 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "China's tallest and timely arrival".  
  7. ^ a b c d e "Shanghai tower named year's best skyscraper". Reuters. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Shanghai tower named year's best skyscraper". ABS-CBN News. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Shanghai Tower Construction Continues Despite Rumors of salt in concrete sand". 25 April 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Construction of Shanghai World Financial Center resumes".  
  11. ^ "Fire breaks out at troubled Shanghai World Financial Center".  
  12. ^ Ying, Gao (15 August 2007). "Shanghai World Financial Center catches fire".  
  13. ^ Fei, Xing (14 August 2007). "China's Tallest Building Catches Fire".  
  14. ^ "China's tallest building rises".   (The video has been removed due to expiry of the copyright).
  15. ^ a b Lubow, Arthur (21 May 2006). "The China Syndrome".  
  16. ^ "Shanghai World Financial Center (facts)". Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  17. ^ "'Bottle opener' or spire of serenity?". Shanghai Daily (subscription required). Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  18. ^ a b "CTBUH 2008 Awards". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 


See also


Shanghai World Financial Center was named by architects as the best skyscraper completed in 2008, receiving both the Best Tall Building Overall and Asia & Australasia awards from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).[7][18] CTBUH's Carol Willis, head of New York's Skyscraper Museum, stated: "The simplicity of its form as well as its size dramatizes the idea of the skyscraper."[7] Architect Tim Johnson noted its innovative structural design: "Steel trusses guard against the forces of wind and earthquake and made the building lighter, made it use less steel, and contributed to its sustainability."[7] Johnson described the SWFC's structure as "nothing short of genius."[18]


The tower's trapezoid aperture is made up of structural steel and reinforced concrete. A large number of forces, such as wind loads, the people in the building and heavy equipment housed in the building, act on the SWFC's structure. These compressive and bending forces are carried down to the ground by the diagonal-braced frame (with added outrigger trusses). The design employs an effective use of material, because it decreases the thickness of the outer core shear walls and the weight of the structural steel in the perimeter walls.[7]

Structural efficiency

The skyscraper's roof height is set at 492 metres (1,614 ft), and was at one point the highest roof in the world. Before construction on the roof was completed, the SWFC's total height was scheduled to be 509.2 m (1,671 ft) so that it would exceed the height of the Taipei 101, but a height limit was imposed, allowing the roof to reach a maximum height of 492 metres. Architect William Pedersen and developer Minoru Mori resisted suggestions to add a spire that would surpass that of Taipei 101 and perhaps One World Trade Center, calling the SWFC a "broad-shouldered building". The SWFC boasts a gross floor area of more than 377,300 m2 (4,061,200 sq ft), 31 elevators, and 33 escalators.

The tower features three separate observation decks which constitute the floors above and below the aperture opening. The height of the lowest observation deck, located on the 94th floor, is 423 m (1,388 ft); the second, on the 97th floor, is at a height of 439 m (1,440 ft); and the highest, on the 100th floor, is 474 m (1,555 ft) high.

The most distinctive feature of the SWFC's design is the trapezoid aperture at the peak. The original design specified a circular aperture, 46 m (151 ft) in diameter, to reduce the stresses of wind pressure[15] and to reference the Chinese mythological depiction of the sky as a circle.[15] It also resembled a Chinese moon gate due to its circular form in Chinese architecture. However, this initial design began facing protests from some Chinese, including the mayor of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, who considered it too similar to the rising sun design of the Japanese flag. Pedersen then suggested that a bridge be placed at the bottom of the aperture to make it less circular.[3] On 18 October 2005, KPF submitted an alternative design to Mori Building and a trapezoidal hole replaced the circle at the top of the tower, which in addition to changing the controversial design, would also be cheaper and easier to implement, according to the architects.[3][16] Foreigners and Chinese alike informally refer to the building as "the bottle opener".[17] Metal replicas of the building that function as actual bottle openers are sold in the tower's gift shop.

The top of the building, with the aperture clearly visible.
Shanghai World Financial Center
Simplified Chinese 上海环球
Traditional Chinese 上海環球
Shanghai World Financial Center.


The Shanghai World Financial Center compared with other major skyscrapers.

The building reached its full height of 492 m (1,614 ft) on 14 September 2007 after the installation of the final steel girder.[14] The final cladding panels were installed in mid-June 2008, and elevator installation was finished in mid-July. The Shanghai World Financial Center was declared complete on 17 July 2008, and was officially opened on 28 August.[6] On 30 August 2008, the tower's observation floors were opened to the public.

A fire broke out in the incomplete SWFC on 14 August 2007. The fire was first noticed on the 40th floor, around 16:30 (GMT +8), and soon the smoke was clearly seen outside the building. By 17:45, the fire had been extinguished. The damage was reported to be slight, and nobody was injured in the accident.[11] The cause of the fire remains unknown, but according to some sources the preliminary investigation suggested workers' electric weldings caused the fire.[12][13]

The tower's foundation stone was laid on 27 August 1997. In the late 1990s, the Pierre de Smet Building Corporation suffered a funding shortage caused by the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98, which halted the project after the foundations were completed. On 13 February 2003, the Mori Group increased the building's height to 492 m (1,614 ft) and 101 stories, from the initial plans for a 460-metre (1,509 ft), 94-story building. The new building used the foundations of the original design, and construction work was resumed on 16 November 2003.[10]

Under construction in February 2006.
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