In 1997, when work began on the Shanghai World Financial Center, it was to be the world’s tallest building, at 1,614 feet, or 492 meters. For extra effect, the roof of his new building would be formed by a giant enclosed circle that would house specially outfitted cars. Think a Ferris wheel in the clouds.
Now the race is on to to complete the 101-floor building on schedule. But the whole concept has changed. It will not longer be the tallest building in the world. Announce one and someone else will announce something bigger. (There may be a sexual analogy here but we do not wish to go down that road.)
It first problem almost coincided with the groundbreaking: a financial crash struck Asia and work was halted on the Finance Center, partly out of fears of a shortage of tenants and partly out of doubts the Chinese economy was set to lead the world. For five years not much happened.
Then Mori took up the challenge again. ‘We are not a listed company, so we are able to control our costs very carefully,’ said Michiho Kishi, speaking for the company. ‘If we had been a listed company, our CEO would have been forced to resign, very simply. That’s what makes us unique.’
Is there a building in Taiwan that is bigger? Not the way Mori looks at it. Michiho Kishi said, ‘Actually if you are counting rooftop height, we are the taller building, but we are not after competition.’
A rude word of disbelief could be inserted here. For the Shanghai building was originally designed to have 94 floors, rising to roughly 1,509 feet. It has quietly grown since then, with more floors added, as well as more height to each floor, resulting in about 105 extra feet.
Over in Dubai there is a 2,300-foot plus structure being built although no one will go on the record saying what the final height will be. In case someone starts adding bits to the Shanghai Finance Center. It could happen.
Source: International Herald Tribune
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