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23 Great Facts About The Shanghai Tower

One of the tallest and most famous skyscrapers in the world can be found in Shanghai, and in this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about the Shanghai Tower.

1. It’s the second tallest building in the world

The Shanghai Tower is a megatall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. It’s located in a neighborhood right across the historical center of the city and on the east bank of the Huangpu River.

This amazing skyscraper in Shanghai has an architectural height of 632 meters (2,073 feet) which makes it the second-tallest building in the world at the moment of writing (June 2020).

It’s 196 meters (644 feet) shorter than the tallest building in the world at the moment, Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It will also be surpassed by several other buildings in the future, including the Jeddah Tower (under construction) and the Sky Mile Tower in Tokyo (planned).

facts about the Shanghai Tower Second tallest building in the world
The second-tallest skyscraper in the world / Stefan Fussan /

2. It has the highest observation deck in the world

One of the most popular attractions of the Shanghai Tower is its observation deck which offers amazing views over Shanghai.

The observation deck can be found on the 121st (!) floor and is located at a height of 561.25 meters (1,841 feet). This makes it the highest observation deck inside a building in the world!

It shares this record, however, with the Ping An Finance Centre, a 599 meters (1,965 feet) tall skyscraper in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, which has an observation deck at the same height as well.

Shanghai Tower observation deck
View from the highest observation deck in the world. / Source

3. The elevators are extremely fast

The tower has a total of 149 elevators which were installed by the Mitsubishi Electric Company. The office floors are equipped with double-deck elevators while the other floors are connected with single-deck elevators.

The tower is equipped with 3 high-speed elevators capable of traveling 73.8 kilometers per hour (46 miles per hour).

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When these were installed, they were the fastest traveling elevators in the world until they were surpassed in 2017 by the elevators in the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre which have a top speed of 76 kilometers per hour (47 miles per hour).

Shanghai Tower fastest elevator

4. Two other supertall skyscrapers stand right next to it

One of the most remarkable facts about the Shanghai Tower is that it is part of a triple-adjacent supertall skyscraper complex. This is the first of its kind in the world!

Right next to the tower there are 2 other skyscrapers with an architectural height of above 300 meters (984 feet). these are the Shanghai World Financial Center at 492 meters (1,614.2 feet) and the Jin Mao Tower at 420.5 meters (1,380 feet).

The Shanghai Tower is clearly the tallest of the 3 and the only tower that can be described as a “megatall skyscraper.”

3 supertall skyscrapers
The 3 supertall skyscrapers in Shanghai. / Source

5. It was designed by an American company

The tower was designed by an international American architectural firm named “Gensler.” This company has designed various types of buildings including sports stadiums, malls, and airports.

The lead architect, who was also credited by Gensler as the actual designer and who led the design team, was Shanghainese architect Jun Xia.

The structural engineers of the tower were Thornton Tomasetti, who also worked on the Petronas Towers and Taipei 101, and Cosentini Associates, both American-based companies.

Shanghai Skyline

6. The tower consists of 9 different zones

The interior design of the tower consists of 9 different zones each has its own atrium and public spaces for visitors.

If you look at the exterior of the tower, you can actually see those 9 zones as it appears 9 different buildings have been stacked on top of each other.

The tower is a mixed-use building containing all amenities imaginable, including shopping malls, restaurants, offices, entertainment facilities, and a hotel.

Shanghai Tower zones

7. It has a unique design feature

The façade of the Shanghai Tower is covered with glass panels that are 1.2 by 4.3 meters (3.93 by 14.10 feet) to 2.2 by 4.5 meters (7.21 by 14.76 feet) in size, and are made of laminated glass of up to 30 millimeters (1.18 in) in thickness.

Each of these panels can weigh an astounding 800 to 1,000 kilos (1763.7 to 2204.62 lbs)!

What makes the glass façade unique is that it consists of a double layer of glass panels, which made it possible to solely use transparent glass. Towers with a single-layer façade are required to use tinted glass to keep out the heat.

Shanghai Tower glass

8. The façade completes a 120-degree twist

Another remarkable design feature of the Shanghai Tower is that it twists about 120 degrees as it rises. This feature was integrated to reduce wind loads.

The feature reduces the loads by 24% which means that 25% less steel was used for its construction than buildings of a similar height would need. This saved about $58 million in the process!

The tower also provides about 10% of its energy from wind turbines near the top and claims to be one of the greenest skyscrapers in the world!

Shanghai Tower facts

9. Construction started in 2008

The tower was built on a site that used to be a driving range. Its construction started with a groundbreaking ceremony that took place on November 29, 2008.

The main contractor of the project was Shanghai Construction Group, a local company, and one of the biggest construction companies in the world.

The Shanghai Construction Group is part of the Shanghai Tower Construction and Development consortium that owns the tower.

Shanghai Tower construction
Shanghai Tower construction / Source

10. It was opened only 3 years after it topped out

By December 2011, the tower’s foundation had been completed and the steel structure of the tower had risen to the 30th floor.

The tower topped out on August 3, 2013, which officially made it the tallest building in China and the second-tallest building in the world.

Even though everything seemed to be ready by late 2014, it wasn’t until the summer of 2016 that the tower opened in various “testing phases.”

Shanghai Skyline

11. Moving into the tower proved to be difficult

One of the most tragic facts about the Shanghai Tower is that there was a huge problem for tenants to move into the offices they were leasing. There appeared to have been a problem with the fire permits of the tower, making it complicated to get the occupancy permits before moving in.

As of June 2017, about 60% of office space was rented out, but only 33% of those tenants were able to move in. A report made in 2019 noted that 55 floors of the tower stood empty, which ignited the remark of it being a “ghost tower.”

Shanghai Tower skyline
Shanghai Tower skyline. / Source

Quick facts about the Shanghai Tower

12. The tower has an architectural height of 632 meters (2,073 feet) and doesn’t have a spire which makes the roof the highest point.

13. The top floor is located at a height of 587.4 meters (1,927 feet) and the observation deck at a height of 561.25 meters (1,841 feet).

14. Construction started on November 29, 2008, and the tower was officially inaugurated on February 18, 2015.

15. The cost to build the Shanghai Tower was approximately 15.8 billion yen. This is the equivalent of just over USD 2.4 billion.

16. There are a total of 128 floors and 5 more below the ground, all connected with a total of 149 elevators.

Pudong Skyline

17. The total floor area of the Shanghai Tower is 380,000 square meters (4,090,300 square feet).

18. The tower can welcome a total of 16,000 visitors every day.

19. The tower has a hotel called the “Shanghai Tower J-Hotel” with 258 rooms and was dubbed the world’s highest hotel at the tower’s completion.

20. The tower doesn’t just have some of the fastest elevators in the world, it also has the furthest-traveling single elevator, at 578.5 meters (1,898 feet).

View from the observation deck
Observation deck at night / Chatterjee.kaushik /

21. The tower contains a mass damper at the top built to limit swaying. It was the world’s largest the moment it was completed.

22. It was introduced as the world’s greenest tower upon completion. It recycles water to flush toilets and the double-layer façade removes the need for airconditioning.

23. The plan for the 3 supertall skyscrapers was introduced back in 1993 when the plan for the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai was made.

Shanghai Aerial
Shanghai view / Legolas1024 /