The 121-story Shanghai Tower is
more than China's next record-setting building - it
is an economic lifeline for the elite club of skyscraper
But in China, work on the 632-metre
2,074-foot Shanghai Tower, due to be completed in
2014, and dozens of other tall buildings is rushing
ahead, powered by a buoyant economy and providing
a steady stream of work to architects and engineers.
While the upcoming Shanghai Tower wont
be the worlds tallest super skyscraper, it will
still be setting records. Estimated to tower over
the Pudong skyline in 2014, Shanghai Tower will be
121 storeys or 632 meters high. That puts it in second
place in the world behind the dizzyingly high Burj
Khalifa in Dubai.
The US high-rise market is "pretty
much dead", said Dan Winey, a managing director
for Gensler, the Shanghai Tower's San Francisco-based
architects. "For us, China in the next 10 to
15 years is going to be a huge market."
China has six of the world's 15 tallest
buildings - compared with three for the United States,
the skyscraper's birthplace - and is constructing
more at a furious pace, defying worries about a possible
real estate boom and bust.
Financial gloom has derailed plans for
new towers in Chicago, Moscow, Dubai and other cities.
India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia all have
ultra-tall towers under construction or on the drawing
board. In the Gulf, Doha in Qatar and Dubai, site
of the current record holder, the 163-story Burj Khalifa,
each has three buildings among the 20 tallest under
construction, though work on all but one of those
has been suspended.
The shift is so drastic that North Americas
share of the 100 tallest buildings will fall from
80 per cent in 1990 to just 18 per cent by 2012, according
to Mr Wood. He said by then, 45 of the tallest will
be in Asia, with 34 of those in China alone. So
34 per cent of the 100 tallest buildings will be in
a single country. That has only happened once before,
and that was with the US, he said.
"There are cities in China that
most Western people have never heard of that have
bigger populations and more tall buildings than half
the prominent cities in the US," said Antony
Wood, executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings
and Urban Habitat at the Illinois Institute of Technology
in Chicago. In China, skyscrapers are going up in
obscure locales such as Wenzhou, Wuhan and Jiangyin,
a boomtown north of Shanghai.