Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill (AS + GG) has revealed renderings for what will be the tallest building in China and the third tallest in the world when complete. The Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Center in Shenzhen is slated to rise to about 2,300 feet in a new development that AS + GG is also master planning. The Shimao Shenzhen Longgang Master Plan will be a mixed-use district with residential, hospitality, office, and retail space along with public landscapes and entertainment facilities. The Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Center symmetrical, vaguely biomorphic, glass-covered design is relatively similar to the firm's other work. AS + GG has designed many of the world's tallest buildings, including what will be the tallest building in the world when complete, the over 3,000-foot-tall Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. Adrian Smith, cofounder of the firm, also worked on the world's current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, while he was still at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Assuming the Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Center is completed before another taller tower can be announced, when the tower is finished Smith will have worked on the three tallest buildings in the world. The building is tall enough to exceed the supertall tower range (which ranges from 984 feet to 1,969 feet), and to make it into the elite megatall crew, of which the Burj Khalifa was the first member in 2010. The current tallest tower in China, Shanghai Tower, designed by Gensler, is just over 2,000 feet tall.
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This new proposal by Chicago-based bKL would see a 700 meter (2,297 feet) tower built in Shenzhen, China. Dubbed the H700 Shenzhen Tower, the megatall structure (megatall is greater than 600 meters according to the CTBUH) would likely become the third tallest building in the world if completed. The current tallest, Dubai's Burj Khalifa at 2,717 feet tall, will soon be eclipsed by the Jeddah Tower in Saudia Arabia, which will rise to 3,280 foot. H700 would be the tallest building in China roughly and roughly 350 feet taller than the next tallest building in Shenzhen. The recently topped-out Ping An Finance Centre, at 1,969 feet, is the current tallest building in Shenzhen and China. The tower would continue Shenzhen’s eastern expansion. The large plaza at the base of the tower would add retail, civic, and institutional programs, providing a cultural space for the Central Business District (CBD). Project diagrams show sky gardens at intermediate floors as well as the at the buildings peak. With their Wolf Point West tower in Chicago recently completed, bKL is also working on one of the tallest buildings in Chicago as Architect of Record: the Studio Gang-designed Vista Tower.
In September the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) gathered high-minded designers, developers and engineers for a conference in Shanghai. CTBUH, which often partners with AN on conferences, including our own Facades+ events, invited me to serve as a special media correspondent for the conference, held September 16–19. I spent most of the time conducting video interviews with the symposium guests, which we'll post here on the AN blog as they become available. For now, here' a quick overview of the topics discussed. The theme of this year's conference was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.” It was an especially relevant topic given the venue—held in the elegant, SOM-designed Jin Mao Tower, the conference looked for lessons (and warnings) in the kind of supertall, super-dense development that turned the Lujiazui area of Shanghai's Pudong district from farmland into a world financial center in just 20 years. Symposium presenters tackled sustainability from several angles. Matthew Clifford, head of energy and sustainability services for North Asia at JLL, stressed building operation and management is as important as design when it comes to energy use and building performance. Cathy Yang, manager of Taipei 101, recounted how “greening” the 101-story building did not turn a profit until the initiative's sixth year, but then made up for it in just three years. The Taiwanese supertall remains the largest LEED Platinum–certified building in the world. Jianping Gu of Shanghai Tower Construction and Development espoused the benefits of the “stereoscopic” form of his building, which at 2,073 feet is set to become the tallest building in China upon completion next year. “If you compare Shanghai Tower to Taipei 101, Petronas Towers, those were all isolated," Gu said. "There were already two towers in the vicinity when we started. We had to pay particular attention to harmonizing with those buildings. We consider this an issue of sustainability.” But towering, monumental architecture may not be for everyone. David Gianotten, an OMA partner heading the firm's Hong Kong office, told me OMA gets so many briefs seeking “iconic” design that the word has begun to lose its meaning. “If everything's special, then nothing's special,” he said. That debate continued onto the conference floor, where developers discussed how China's third- and fourth-tier cities should embrace the tall building boom—or whether they should at all. On the conference's final day, Mun Summ Wong of Singapore-based WOHA talked about the psychological environment of horizontal cities, and how tall buildings should better embrace the human scale. “The idea is to inject more urban life into the high-rise city,” Wong said. “We introduce horizontal movement in the high-rise building because it changes the dynamic. When you talk to the people next to you in an ordinary high-rise, it is considered rude. But in the street, you talk to people, build relationships and bonds.” Similarly, Yang Wu of the Bund Finance Center warned of the risks of homogeneous skylines. “When I open my eyes in the morning and I am in Shenzhen, I still think I am in Shanghai because they look the same,” he said. “[China is] duplicating buildings and the mistakes of the West. There is focus on building bizarre and tall buildings but ignorance of the connotations–resulting in cold buildings for cold cities. As a developer, I call on architects: you need to have your own independent ideas that bring vitality.” You can read more about the conference on CTBUH's website. Check back here as we post video interviews.