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Shanghai Tower now 500 meters
By Zha Minjie

LOOMING on the Shanghai skyline in Lujiazui, a soaring skyscraper rises among others, capturing the eyes of visitors from home and abroad.

The city's future landmark, Shanghai Tower, touched the mark of 500 meters yesterday and was edging closer to the top, according to the builders. The total height of the nearly 15 billion yuan project on completion in 2014 will be 632 meters - the tallest in the city.

With the main structure standing tall, workers are starting to add glass to the exterior, which reflected on the Lujiazui business hub in the Pudong New Area.

The foundation for the Shanghai Tower was laid in 2008 and is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

It will become operational the year after.

The city's current tallest building is the Shanghai World Financial Center, also in Lujiazui, which stands at 492 meters. It was completed in 2008.

"It will be a super-high building and it is also a green building," said Ge Qing, the chief engineer of the project. Ge said more than 20 small-scale gardens will be built inside the building.

Underground passages among the three tallest buildings - Shanghai Tower, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center - will link the trio together and connect to Metro stations at a later date to facilitate traffic and business in the area.

The builders said that construction work is on schedule with a new story completed every seven days. Shanghai Tower will have about 210,000 square meters of office space and 50,000 square meters area for commercial activities.

"For us the biggest challenge now will be to put on the glass 'walls,"' said Gao Zhenfeng, the deputy chief engineer.

Gao said a three-dimensional model had to be built first to help with the installation.

None of the 20,000 pieces of glass wall will be the same, said Gao.

The skyscraper is designed by US-based Gensler Design and Architectural firm.

The tower, one of the city's largest single construction project in history, was not free of problems during the building process.

The underground pipelines reportedly cracked due to ground subsidence caused by construction last year, city work safety authorities said.

"But after the foundation and pit construction work finished, the problems were solved," Gao said.

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