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Shanghai restarts construction of world's tallest tower
( 2003-02-14 10:43 ) (1 )

Things were looking up again in Shanghai Thursday after construction on the world's tallest building restarted after a five-year hiatus.

The Shanghai World Financial Centre will be 492 metres tall and 101 storeys above ground when completed.

It will surpass the current highest building in the world - the 452-metre-tall Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia, according to yesterday's press conference held in Shanghai.

The project, whose main investor is Japan's Mori Building Co Ltd, has won the full support of the local government.

Mayor Chen Lianyu was present at yesterday's ceremony marking the return to construction.

"We hope it will be the tallest," said Akio Yoshimura, president of Shanghai World Financial Centre Investment Co Ltd, a local project company under Mori Building Co Ltd.

A 508-metre skyscraper under construction in Taipei called Taipei Financial Centre has 60-metre antenna facilities but the main structure is still shorter than the one designated for Shanghai, according to company officials.

In addition, the final design on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center in New York, which was demolished by the September 11 terrorist attacks, has yet to be announced.

Shanghai World Financial Centre will be built using a total investment of around 100 billion yen (US$823 million) and will be completed by 2007 in the Lujiazui area of Shanghai's Pudong New District. It will be adjacent to the 420-metre Jinmao Building, the third-tallest skyscraper in the world.

Mori Building Co Ltd has joined forces with 33 Japanese banks, insurance companies and trading houses to invest in the project.

David Iwami Malott, associate principal with New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, which has designed the tower, said measures against terrorist attacks and emergencies like earthquakes and fires have been fully considered. The building has a specially designed shelter every 12 floors and huge emergency facilities underground.

These facilities will shelter people during emergencies, he said.

Construction of Shanghai World Financial Centre began in August 1997, but was suspended in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.

"We have always been confident about Shanghai's economic prospects and we have now decided to restart our project," Minoru Mori, president of Mori Building Co Ltd, said yesterday.

The president predicted sound demand for high-quality office buildings in Shanghai in the following years.

Zheng Shiling, vice-president of the Architectural Society of China, said Shanghai authorities need to make an overall and long-term plan when approving high building projects.

"Compared with other international metropolises like Paris and Madrid, Shanghai's skyscrapers are in a mess to some degree," said Zheng, who is also the director of the Institute of Architecture and Urban Space of Shanghai-based Tongji University.



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