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August 4, 2013

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Taking innovation to new heights

EMERGENCY elevators that can be used in the event of a fire or earthquake are one feature that will distinguish the Shanghai Tower from other skyscrapers in the Lujiazui financial zone.  

As the tower reached 580 meters yesterday, with the capping of the main structure, Shanghai Daily talked to designers and builders about the design, green energy technology and safety in a building that will stand at 632m — the world’s second tallest now — when operational in 2015.

More than 10,000 architects drawings filed away in a storage room at Tongji Architectural Design Group, co-designer of the tower with American firm Gensler Architecture and Design, record the history of the building.

“Design and construction would be a lot easier if the building could be built horizontally,” joked Chen Jiliang, deputy director of the design group.

“It’s quite a different task to put all the elements in a vertical structure.”

The sheer height of the 125-floor tower — including four underground stories — has meant architects have had to develop innovative safety solutions.

The Shanghai Tower will feature elevators solely for use in emergencies, among more than 100 lifts.

“The building’s too high to evacuate by stairs in emergencies,” explained Chen.

A fire extinguishing system using foam rather than water is another feature. Foam can be pumped higher than water for tackling a blaze.
The building’s height limits the use of fire ladders and there are no designated fire rescue helicopters in the city, said designers.

Security is also a vital issue and there are plans for a face recognition system to supplement a gate control system.

Fears of subsidence have been raised since the earliest days of the project, heightened when cracks were found on nearby roads and underground pipes last year.

“After foundation and pit construction work finished, the problems were solved,” said Gao Zhenfeng, deputy chief engineer on the project.

Green technologies are another innovation.

From the air-conditioning, lighting system and outside curtain walls, designers claim the Shanghai Tower will be one of China’s greenest skyscrapers, say designers.

The Shanghai Tower team have no doubt about their building’s place in the city.

Ding Jieming, director of Tongji Architectural Design Group, compares it to fellow Liujiazui high-rises the Shanghai World Financial Center, which opened in 2008, and the Jin Mao Tower, which became operational in 1999.

“Jin Mao represents the past, the Shanghai World Financial Center represents now, while the Shanghai Tower is the future,” Ding said.


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