Recently Gensler broke ground on a soaring sustainably-built skyscraper that is set to become the tallest tower in China. The slender, elegantly spiraling Shanghai Tower will rise 632 meters, making it the latest super-tall to spring up in China’s rapidly developing Luijiazui Finance and Trade Zone. A beacon for a more sustainable future, the skyscraper will feature a high-performance façade that shelters no fewer than nine sky gardens, a rainwater recycling system, and a series of wind turbines perched beneath its parapet.

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Gensler’s latest skyscraper will grace the skyline of Shanghai’s Luijiazui Finance and Trade Zone, an area that was predominantly farmland just eighteen years ago. The region is now poised to become China’s first super-tall district as the Shanghai Tower joins the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Finance Center.

The Shanghai Tower is composed of a set of nine cylindrical buildings stacked on top of each other and surrounded by an inner façade. A triangular outer façade encloses the entire structure, creating room for nine sky gardens, which serve as public spaces. The mixed-use structure will house businesses, restaurants, cafés, coffee shops and convenience stores.

The skyscraper’s twisting, asymmetrical envelope features a carefully considered structure and texture that work together to reduce wind loads on the building by 24%, saving building materials and construction costs. The building’s spiraling parapet collects rainwater to be used for the tower’s heating and air conditioning systems, and wind turbines situated below the parapet generate on-site power. Additionally, the gardens nestled within the building’s double-skin façade create a thermal buffer zone while improving indoor air quality.

The Shanghai Tower is slated to be completed in 2014, and Art Gensler, Chairman of Gensler has stated: “We hope Shanghai Tower inspires new ideas about what sustainable tall buildings can be . . . We’ve lined the perimeter of the tower, top to bottom, with public spaces, and we’ve integrated strategic environmental thinking into every move. The tower is a stage that comes to life through the presence of people.”

+ Gensler