Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH Presents at Suzhou Elevator Expo

On Wednesday, March 23, CTBUH’s Communications Manager and Journal Editor Jan Klerks presented on Global Tall Buildings Trends as part of the forum program of the Elexpo Trade Fair in Suzhou, China. The fair, held for the third time, is an international trade fair focusing on elevators and accessories and was organized in the International Expo Center of Suzhou, a city of about 2.5 million, roughly 50 miles west of Shanghai.

During the presentation, Klerks focused on the different elevator strategies involved with tall buildings, such as express elevators, double-decker cabins and hall call allocation systems. Jump Elevators were also introduced as an elevator system that can be used during construction of the tower. Since the theme for the expo was sustainability, green strategies involving the development of tall buildings were discussed as well.

Lunch banquet Jan Klerks presenting

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion, involving the speakers and leaders in the local elevator industry. The main topic of debate was how Chinese companies can establish an international presence for themselves.  As newcomers to the global market, Chinese companies do not yet have the recognition of an established brand. International participants of the forum pointed out that communication isn’t always optimal and that learning other languages and cultures would improve the understanding needed to conduct international business. As much as the focus of Chinese producing companies seems to be on perfecting existing products and keeping them as affordable as possible, a next step in the evolution of the Chinese production industry would involve new products and creative solutions.  

Shanghai Tower
While in the Shanghai area, Klerks took the opportunity to visit the construction site of
Shanghai Tower, China’s future tallest building at 632 meters (2,074 feet) and 121 stories tall, to be completed in 2014. As explained in CTBUH Journal 2010 Issue II, the Shanghai Tower will have a composite structure shaped by a concrete core and four paired steel supercolumns. Although construction has only reached the first few floors, this structure, and the location of the outer skin, are already visible. 

Shanghai Tower construction site, which shows the concrete core and steel supercolumns. The orange steelwork at ground floor level shows the perimeter of the outer facade.

As the last of three superall buildings to be built, Shanghai Tower is the grand finale of the Lujiazui financial district in Pudong. Due to the site's dense urban fabric, contractors have found themselves confronted with a shortage of space and have had to resort to innovative space-conserving tactics, like stacking construction offices along the perimeter of the site

Cranes attached to the building core of the Shanghai Tower Jin Mao building (left) and Shanghai WFC at night

Three giants
Together with the
Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Building, Shanghai Tower will shape the heart of Shanghai’s new skyline and as such define China’s ambitions. The towers can be seen to represent Shanghai’s past, present and future

Completed in 1999, the 421-meter (1,380-foot) Jin Mao Building was the first of the trio. The tower contains offices in the bottom half and a luxury hotel in the top. The hotel contains a spectacular atrium starting at the 56th floor and reaching all the way to the top, around which rooms and hotel amenities are grouped. 

The Shanghai WFC was completed in 2008. At 492 meters (1,614 feet), the tower currently stands as the 3rd tallest building in the world. Like the Jin Mao tower, Shanghai WFC contains offices and a hotel. Additionally Shanghai WFC has an observatory. This observatory still ranks as the highest observatory in the world.

Atrium of the Grand Hyatt in the Jin Mao Building Part of a plaque recognizing Shanghai WFC's height achievements by the CTBUH.

Jan Klerks wishes to thank Candy Cui of the Suzhou International Expo Center and Grace Zhu of Shanghai Tower Construction & Development for their welcome and hospitality.