World’s second-tallest building tops out in China

TOWER OF POWER::An architect sought to calm fears that the cracks that have been appearing at the building’s base indicate the ground is subsiding


Sun, Aug 04, 2013 - Page 5

Work on the main structure of the world’s second-tallest skyscraper was completed yesterday, as the final beam was placed on the Shanghai Tower.

A crane placed the steel beam 580m above the ground in Shanghai, China’s commercial hub, as the building formally overtook Taiwan’s 509m tall Taipei 101 building to become the highest tower in Asia.

Globally it is second only to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at 830m. The tower, which costs an estimated US$14.8 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion), will reach over 630m when it is finally finished.

“It’s a landmark and it will change the skyline of Shanghai,” Xia Jun, of Gensler, the US firm which designed the tower, told a press conference yesterday following a “topping out” ceremony.

“I don’t think the importance of an architecture lies entirely in its height,” he added.

The structure stands alongside China’s previous tallest building, the 492m Shanghai World Financial Center — and is due to open next year, by which time it may have been surpassed as the tallest building in China.

Chinese firm Broad Group have announced plans to construct an 838m tower in the central Chinese city of Changsha, which they say will be completed in April.

However, reports in state-run media late last month said construction on the tower had been called off, because the building had not gained full local government approval.

The Broad Group called the reports inaccurate and said they had not been asked to halt construction in a statement sent to AFP this week.

Work on the Shanghai tower began in 2008, and its construction was partially backed by Shanghai’s city government.

Concerns were raised last year when long cracks began to appear in the ground close to the building, prompting fears that ground around the tower was subsiding.

However, Ding Jiemin, an architect who collaborated on the tower’s design, played down fears yesterday.

“These problems were just during construction period, it will not affect the security of the architecture,” he said.

China is home to three of the world’s 10 tallest buildings, according to research group Emporis — which did not count the Shanghai Tower.

The Shanghai Tower’s final beam was decorated with red ribbons and flags, and carried a banner which read: “Team of hoisting heroes.”

The vacancy rate for prime offices in Shanghai rose to 6.2 percent in the second quarter, compared with 4.3 percent at the same time last year, the eighth lowest among 29 cities tracked by Cushman & Wakefield Inc. in the Asia-Pacific region. Office rents fell 4.5 percent from a year ago to US$6.82 per square foot (US$73.41 per square meter) a month, it said.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg