China's tallest building opens this weekend

On Saturday the Shanghai World Financial Center will open its doors to the public. The 101-story building took a bit longer than planned to build (see also an earlier blog post of mine here), but now the building seems to be ready for its first visitors. If you want to visit China’s tallest building you can go up to the so-called Sky Pavillion at 472 meters, which is located at the 100th floor. The 101st floor at 492 meters will not be open to the public.

It won’t be cheap though: Shanghaiist wrote yesterday that a trip to the top of the building will set you back RMB 150. The elevator ride will take several minutes, according to the Shanghai Daily. A bit strange, because the same Shanghai Daily article mentions that the building has the fastest elevators in the world, that travel at 10 meters/second. Even taking into account the fact that the elevator will take a couple of seconds to reach its top speed and a few seconds to slow down at the top, this would mean that the trip should not last for much more than one minute. Does the elevator not travel at top speed or did the Shanghai Daily not research its article well enough (again)? Research is certainly not the paper’s strongest point, because a quick check on Wikipedia reveals that the elevator in Taipei 101 reaches a top speed of over 16 meters/second!

The building has some more “Number One”-features according to the same article (I did not counter check them though). Among others it has the world’s highest swimming pool (at the 85th floor, from where you might be able to look down on the Grand Hyatt pool a few floors lower in the building next door) and the world’s highest Chinese restaurant at the 93rd floor. Originally the highest ferris wheel in the world was also part of the design, but because in that case the top of the building would resemble the Japanese flag high above Shanghai, the Japanese developer was forced to change its design.

Picture (creative commons): Bert van Dijk

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  1. Indeed the Taipei 101’s elevators are currently (Maybe no more with the Burj Dubai) the fastest in the world :

    “Taipei 101’s elevators sweep visitors from the fifth floor to the 89th-floor observatory in only 37 seconds.Each elevator features an aerodynamic body, full pressurization, state-of-the art emergency braking systems, and the world’s first triple-stage anti-overshooting system. The cost for each elevator is NT$80 million (US$2.4 million)”

    I have the chance to take them everyday and it’s really impressive, here is a video i’ve took lately :

  2. Some people say it resembles a Samurai sword when you look at it from the side….

  3. People on the street are allready calling it “the bottle opener”

  4. Re the lift transit time to the top — it is probably because you have to transfer between lifts along the way. The problem with very tall buildings and lifts is that if you have banks of lifts serving lower floors, mid-level floors, and top floors, very soon the lower levels would be virtually all taken up with lift shafts! Hence in new designs (including the soon-to-be-the-world’s tallest building in Dubai) you may need to transfer between lifts (lift shafts) once or twice on the way to the top. A dedicated bottom-to-top lift shaft is a very expensive piece of real estate !