The Shanghai Tower could revolutionise how we see modern cities

There are some exciting developments going on around the world in the field of commercial architecture. The Shanghai Tower, the second tallest skyscraper in the world at 2,037ft, has entered its final stage of construction as it gets set to be finished by 2015. The building has been under construction for six years and is going to be the world’s first super-highrise vertical community. It is split into 9 different zones encompassing retail space, offices, and a 320-room hotel. Each of the neighbourhoods in the building is brought together by a garden atrium that is light, open and reminiscent of the landscaped courtyards found throughout the city.

We’re always interested in ways of making architecture more sustainable, and sustainability is definitely ingrained in the design of the Shanghai Tower. The glass skin reduces reliance on artificial lighting, boosts insulation and also creates bright, airy atria for people to spend time in. Landscaping also plays a very important role with a whole third of the site designated as green space. This helps to provide natural cooling and reduce the need for expensive air conditioning systems. The tower’s heating and cooling systems will be powered by geothermal energy sources. A final innovation is the fact that exterior lights are powered by wind turbines. The sustainable strategies means the carbon footprint of the building will be reduced by 34000 metric tonnes per year.

The Shanghai Tower has all the potential to leave a lasting impression on not just commercial architecture but the whole way we think about modern cities. The sheer amount of detail that has gone into creating an entire community in a single building is astonishing. The design also goes to show how taking sustainability and good environmental practices seriously can produce amazing results.