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August 3, 2012

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Glass walls technological first for new tallest tower

A challenging technological mission began yesterday hundreds of meters up in Pudong's Lujiazui area as workers started installing high-tech exterior glass walls onto Shanghai Tower, the city's future highest building and a new urban landmark.

The high-tech design of the glass walls is adopted for safety and saving energy, according to project manager Shanghai Chengtou Group.

The future landmark skyscraper will be 632 meters tall. The nearly 15 billion yuan (US$2.36) project is expected to be completed in 2014.

The city's tallest building currently is the Shanghai World Financial Center at 492 meters, completed in 2008 and also in Lujiazui.

Project engineers for the new building told local media yesterday it's the first time for the double-layer glass walls to be used for buildings taller than 350 meters.

The design means the building uses about 50 percent less energy on air conditioning compared to others with regular glass walls, they said.

"The biggest challenge in construction for the Shanghai Tower project is the glass walls," Kong Qingwei, general manager with Shanghai Chengtou, said yesterday regarding to the complexity in design and installation of the glass walls.

Besides the greener design, the glass walls also will be safer, the project engineers said.

Reports of glass walls falling in recent years have raised safety concerns about local high-rises.

A special glue is added into the double-layer glass walls to be installed on Shanghai Tower to prevent such accidents, the engineers said.

The powerful glue will ensure any broken glass pieces remain attached to the wall surface, according to the engineers.

The material adopted for the new building is more advanced than ordinary reinforced glass and features a close-to-zero "self-breaking" rate caused by conditions such as sharp temperature variances, according to the engineers.

The skyscraper is designed by US-based Gensler design and architectural firm.


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