Shanghai World Financial Centre / KPF (Kohn Pedersen Fox) Architects

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The Burj Dubai by SOM hasn´t been finished yet, but it´s currently the world´s tallest structure. Meanwhile, the World Financial Centre by KPF has been opened a few weeks ago, which is (as for now) the tallest building in the world when it comes to roof height with 492m (1,614.2ft). The Taipei 101 in Taiwan is 509.2m (1,670.60ft) if you count the antenna, but its roof is only at 449.2 m (1,473.75 ft).

The building took almost 11 years to be completed, delayed by the Asian Financial Crisis of 97-98 and change on design, but it was finally opened to public on August 30, 2008. You can see an interesting tour of the building on the video posted above.

The observatory on the 100th floor is amazing, with a transparent floor.

Also, I found an interesting documentary by National Geographic on the construction of the World Financial Center, posted it below. Enjoy!

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Cite: Basulto, David. "Shanghai World Financial Centre / KPF (Kohn Pedersen Fox) Architects" 18 Oct 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • david

    from architectural point of view this building is nothing. that’s not surprising at all from KPF and companies of that kind, like SOM. moneyhunters!

  • J

    I have worked at both KPF and offices that you would probably like much more and appear at the top of your glossy architecture magazines….the kpf designers may be moneyhunters…i.e. they have clients…but in many cases the DESIGNERS ARE FAR MORE TALENTED! anyway that’s just my experience having working for both sides…

  • elsa

    what is interesting in this building is its simplicity. when you are near this building, you see how amazing it is, how the building changes its perspective, depending on the place where you are…

  • david

    I agree with elsa: if u look at it from street it does have this shape-shifting feature. but if you consider the form as a whole (model) it looks like a bottle of some fragrance. the opening at the top is especially.. how can I say.. “annoying”.

    and what I mean by maoneyhunters is that SOM or KPF they are just corporations, not architectural firms like OMA or Ateliers Jean Nouvel or Renzo Piano Building Workshop..

  • louisa

    totally agree with David, I think the suspension of design stage and late commencement of construction time reveal a rather conservative design solution by that time.. it is still very elegantly built and has a classic building envelope which can last for years… similar to those by Mies, Less is more.. simple forms.. can be iconic too.

    However, for being a design architect working for the design firms for years, we see this building not as ” wow” as those produced by others such as MAD,BIG… zaha… etc.. We can push this design form to a more advance level.. in terms of design typology or design language..

    The design is abit “static” and classic forms, sure this will fit the taste of the businessmen who opt for long-lasting image.

    I see this is more a challenge for engineers meeting completion time, explore constuction method.. .well i must say.. i m abit disappointed after seeing all those clips.. as I see NO interesting new forms of building technology or New Testing of building skin, if I am the design architect, i am sure, we can have more fun with some twist and turns… and adapt some sort of Bold solution than this simple solution… maybe It is confined by the economy by that time… or so…
    I must say – this is not bold enough
    as there are more interesting solutions such as Russia towers, swiss res… CCTV …. etc etc..

  • elsa

    yes david! you are totally right, we cannot compare that kind of companies… and in fact, i don’t like the top of the building too: there was a change from the original project. i’m portuguese and this is not the kind of architecture i believe, as you can imagine. for us, architecture is all about space, poetry, etc… non commercial at all. but not this scale too. but now, i’m working in china and i’m learning other things. you have to change your perspectives here: different reality, different scale, different ways of making architecture… and different schedules to do it! and a tower, is no more then an object, and that includes cctv from rem koolhaas.
    i’m not comparing projects, of course, but being in this reality, i think it’s really good when i see both in cctv tower or Shanghai World Financial Centre, they tried to do something more then an object. they give the buildings a bit more about space and not just one more shape in the skyline…
    yes, the tower is a bit static in shape, like louise said, and could be more interesting in terms of conceptual design, exploring new shapes and skins… well, but it depends on client! they know what they will get when have BIG or Zaha… and here, not every client is prepared for that!…