Today Gensler announced that the world’s second tallest skyscraper has been topped out in Shanghai. The twisting, mixed-use Shanghai Tower soars up to 632 meters – a height only eclipsed by the the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The tower’s cleverly designed facade reduces wind load by 24 percent during typhoons, and sky gardens at the apex mimic traditional open courtyards.

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Gensler’s local engineering and design team had to devise several unique components to accommodate the 121 story tower located in an emerging financial district in Pudong. The clay soil would have been insufficient to carry the tower’s heavy load, so a system of 831 reinforced concrete bore piles had to be poured in 60 straight hours as a solid foundation. Also, China is subject to powerful typhoons that can destabilize a tower of such heights, so it was important to reduce the project’s wind load.

The twisting form reduces the load by 24 percent during typhoons, Dezeen reports, and also slashed construction costs by a whopping $58 million. The building is organized in nine vertical zones that distribute heating, cooling and water more efficiently than a standard tower, thereby reducing these loads, as well as the costs of maintaining interior comfort. Sky gardens crown the mammoth building alongside observation decks and cultural facilities, while retail facilities are located at the base. Offices are spread out between. The tower will open in 2014.

+ Gensler Architecture

Via Dezeen