Shanghai World Financial Center

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Shanghai World Financial Center
The Shanghai World Financial Center in March 2017
General information
TypeOffice, hotel, museum, observation, parking garage, retail
Architectural styleNeo-Futurism
Location100 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai
Construction started27 August 1997
Opening28 August 2008
CostRMB ¥ 8.17 billion
(USD $ 1.20 billion)
OwnerShanghai World Financial Center Co., Ltd.
(Mori Building Company)
Architectural492 m (1,614.2 ft)[1]
Tip494.3 m (1,621.7 ft)
Roof487.4 m (1,599.1 ft)
Top floor474 m (1,555.1 ft)
Observatory474 m (1,555.1 ft)
Technical details
Floor count101 (3 below ground)
Floor area381,600 m2 (4,107,500 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators91 + 33 escalators
Design and construction
Architect(s)Kohn Pedersen Fox
DeveloperMori Building Co.
Structural engineerLeslie E. Robertson Associates RLLP
Main contractorChina 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; pinyin: Shànghǎi Huánqiú Jīnróng Zhōngxīn, Shanghainese: Zånhae Guejieu Cinyon Tsonsin) is a supertall skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai. 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, which at the time of completion was the highest hotel in the world. It is now the third-highest hotel in the world after the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, which occupies floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Centre.[6]

On 14 September 2007, the skyscraper was topped out at 492 meters (1,614.2 ft),[1][7] making it the 2nd tallest building in the world[8] on completion (the tallest at the time being Taipei 101), and the tallest in China.[9] 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.[10]

The SWFC has been lauded for its design, and in 2008 it was named by architects as the year's best-completed skyscraper.[11][12] In 2013, the SWFC was exceeded in height by the adjacent Shanghai Tower,[13] which is China's tallest structure as of 2021. Together, The Shanghai World Financial Center, The Shanghai Tower and The Jin Mao Tower form the world's first adjacent grouping of three supertall skyscrapers.


Designed by American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, the 100-story tower was originally planned for construction in 1997, but work was temporarily interrupted by the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s, and was later paused to accommodate design changes by the Mori Building Company. The building of the tower was financed by several multinational firms, including Chinese, Japanese, and Hong Kong banks, as well as by the Japanese developer and American and European investors. The American investment bank Morgan Stanley coordinated the tower's financing for Mori Building.


Under construction in February 2006.

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-stories building. The new building used the foundations of the original design, and construction work was resumed on 16 November 2003.[14]

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.[15] The cause of the fire remains unknown, but according to some sources the preliminary investigation suggested workers' electric weldings caused the fire.[16]

The building reached its full height of 492 m (1,614 ft) on 14 September 2007 after the installation of the final steel girder.[17] 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.[10] On 30 August 2008, the tower's observation floors were opened to the public.

The Shanghai World Financial Center compared with other Asian skyscrapers.


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

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[18] and to reference the Chinese mythological depiction of the sky as a circle.[18] 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.[4] 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.[4][19] Foreigners and Chinese alike informally refer to the building as "the bottle opener".[20] Metal replicas of the building that function as actual bottle openers are sold in the tower's gift shop.

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 skyscraper's roof height is set at 492 m (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.

Structural efficiency[edit]

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.


Shanghai World Financial Center hosts the office building for many international financial companies, including those involved in banking, insurance, securities and fund management, such as Ernst & Young, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Bank of Yokohama, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Korea Development Bank.[21][22] Google's Shanghai branch is located on the 60th-61st floors.[23]



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).[11][25] 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."[11] 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."[11] Johnson described the SWFC's structure as "nothing short of genius."[25]


See also[edit]

Similar towers[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Shanghai World Financial Center - The Skyscraper Center". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Shanghai World Financial Center – The Skyscraper Center". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Shanghai World Financial Center". Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "Innovation - Life, Inspired . About the Episodes . Show Transcript / PBS". Educational Broadcasting Corporation and Carlton International. 2004. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Shanghai tops out world's third-tallest building". China Daily. 15 September 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Park Hyatt Shanghai To Open In 2008". China Hospitality News. 19 November 2007. Archived from the original on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Shanghai World Financial Center". Emporis. 2008. Archived from the original on 12 May 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  8. ^ Stern, Andrew (21 November 2008). "Shanghai tower named year's best skyscraper". Reuters. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Final beams in place on tallest building". Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  10. ^ a b "China's tallest and timely arrival". BBC. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d "Shanghai tower named year's best skyscraper". Reuters. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Shanghai tower named year's best skyscraper" Archived 6 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. ABS-CBN News. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Shanghai Tower Construction Continues Despite Rumors of salt in concrete sand". 25 April 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  14. ^ "Construction of Shanghai World Financial Center resumes". People's Daily. 18 November 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  15. ^ "Fire breaks out at troubled Shanghai World Financial Center". Forbes. Agence France-Presse. 14 August 2007. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  16. ^ Ying, Gao (15 August 2007). "Shanghai World Financial Center catches fire". Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  17. ^ "China's tallest building rises". The Guardian. 14 September 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2008. (The video has been removed due to expiry of the copyright).
  18. ^ a b Lubow, Arthur (21 May 2006). "The China Syndrome". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  19. ^ "Shanghai World Financial Center (facts)". Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  20. ^ "The World's Largest Bottle Opener: Beautiful". Shanghai Daily (subscription required). Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  21. ^ deVry, Erica (18 August 2010). "Ernst & Young Relocates to Shanghai World Financial Center, Tallest Building in China". Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  22. ^ 上海环球金融中心租掉了大半. 21世纪经济报道. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  23. ^ "Google locations." Google. Retrieved 25 May 2016. "Google Shanghai 60F, Shanghai World Financial Center 100 Century Avenue, Pudong New Area Shanghai 200120, China"
  24. ^ "SWFC Observation Deck". Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  25. ^ a b "CTBUH 2008 Awards". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved 28 April 2012.

External links[edit]

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

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

Succeeded by