The Shanghai World Financial Center is a mixed-use skyscraper, consisting of offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks, and ground-floor shopping malls. Park Hyatt Shanghai is the tower’s hotel component, comprising 174 rooms and suites occupying the 79th to the 93rd floors, which at the time of completion was the highest hotel in the world. It is now the third-highest hotel in the world after the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, which occupies floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Centre.

Architecture Shanghai World Financial Center Building

On 14 September 2007, the skyscraper topped out at 492 meters, making it the 2nd tallest building in the world on completion (the tallest at the time being Taipei 101), and the tallest building in Mainland China. The SWFC opened to the public on 28 August 2008, with its observation deck opening on 30 August. The observation deck offers views from 474 m above ground level.

The most distinctive feature of the SWFC’s design is the trapezoid aperture at the peak. The original design specified a circular aperture, 46 m in diameter, to reduce the stresses of wind pressure and to reference the Chinese mythological depiction of the sky as a circle. It also resembled a Chinese moon gate due to its circular form in Chinese architecture. However, this initial design began facing protests from some Chinese, including the mayor of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, who considered it too similar to the rising sun design of the Japanese flag. Pedersen then suggested that a bridge be placed at the bottom of the aperture to make it less circular. On 18 October 2005, KPF submitted an alternative design to Mori Building and a trapezoidal hole replaced the circle at the top of the tower, which in addition to changing the controversial design, would also be cheaper and easier to implement, according to the architects. Foreigners and Chinese alike informally refer to the building as “the bottle opener”. Metal replicas of the building that function as actual bottle openers are sold in the tower’s gift shop.

The tower features three separate observation decks which constitute the floors above and below the aperture opening. The height of the lowest observation deck, located on the 94th floor, is 423 m; the second, on the 97th floor, is at a height of 439 m; and the highest, on the 100th floor, is 474 m high.

The skyscraper’s roof height is set at 492 m and was at one point the highest roof in the world. Before construction on the roof was completed, the SWFC’s total height was scheduled to be 509.2 m so that it would exceed the height of the Taipei 101, but a height limit was imposed, allowing the roof to reach a maximum height of 492 meters. Architect William Pedersen and developer Minoru Mori resisted suggestions to add a spire that would surpass that of Taipei 101 and perhaps One World Trade Center, calling the SWFC a “broad-shouldered building”. The SWFC boasts a gross floor area of more than 377,300 m2, 31 elevators, and 33 escalators.

The SWFC has been lauded for its design, and in 2008 it was named by architects as the year’s best-completed skyscraper. In 2013, the SWFC was exceeded in height by the adjacent Shanghai Tower, which is China’s tallest structure as of 2021. Together, The Shanghai World Financial Center, The Shanghai Tower, and The Jin Mao Tower form the world’s first adjacent grouping of three super-tall skyscrapers.

According to Wikipedia