The Council on Tall Buildings and the Urban Habitat has named the Shanghai World Financial Center the “Best Tall Building Overall” for 2008. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) and completed last year, the building was chosen from among four “Regional Tall Building” winners, including The New York Times Building by Renzo Piano Building Workshop with FXFOWLE, London’s 51 Lime Street by Foster and Partners, and the Bahrain World Trade Center by Atkins.
The Shanghai World Financial Center, which boasts the highest occupied floor in the world, was chosen as the winner for “its revolutionary structural design and inspirational symbolism,” according to the council. Formed out of a square prism intersected by two “cosmic arcs,” the building includes a distinctive, multi-story trapezoidal aperture at its upper floors. The firm’s design was inspired by two Chinese burial symbols: “a square prism essentially representative of the earth, and a heaven symbol—a circular disc with a circular aperture cut through it,” says Bill Pedersen, FAIA, of KPF. “We wanted to do a building that was a genuine expression of the relationship between the earth and the sky,” he explains, “and also that could be connected to the culture within which it is placed.”