The single tallest building in Mainland China (and that’s saying something, considering its proximity to the massive Jin Mao Tower), the Shanghai World Financial Center (SWF) is a truly astonishing feat of modern engineering. Unlike many other contenders in the race for the title of World’s Tallest Building, SWF is almost completely office and commercially accessible. No mere spire or towering antenna, this building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox to be inhabited and fully utilized. It’s possible to make the argument that SWF is the tallest real building due to the fact that it possesses the honor of having the highest occupied floor and the longest distance from basement to roof. Construction on the structure began in 1997 and continued after a six-year halt caused by the Asian financial crisis.
All told, there are 3 floors of underground parking; numerous shops and a conference center on the first 5 floors; offices on the next 72 floors; a hotel located on floors 79-93 (making it the highest hotel in the world); and finally, an observation deck and several exhibition areas on floors 94-100.
After the 9/11 attacks, SWF was reinforced to withstand any intentional or accidental collisions with aircraft, and it has two finely tuned mass dampers below the 94th floor designed to reduce the building’s sway during windstorms and earthquakes. Suffice it to say, it’s safe.
One other interesting factoid involves successful protests from the Chinese government regarding the similarities between the circular hole planned within the upper floors and the rising sun featured on the Japanese flag that led to a partial redesign.