Kingkey Tower puts Shard in the shade

Monday 21 Feb 2011

Topping out of 441m tower highlights design opportunities in China

71 year old British architect Sir Terry Farrell has suggested that China is now a hive of opportunities for UK designers looking to make their name on the international stage, as his latest creation – Kingkey Financial Center – tops out in Shenzhen.

Speaking to The Observer this weekend, Farrell explained: “It’s often said you go to America for its can-do attitude, the Far East for application and detail, and Europe for design and imagination – and I think that’s still true. There’s definitely demand for British architectural and engineering expertise in planning in China.”

The tallest tower ever seen through to realisation by a British architect, the Kingkey Financial Center comprises 173,000 sq m of commercial office space, 210,000 sq m of residential apartments, six floors of retail at the base and 28 storeys of five-star Regis Hotel. All this will be topped with a five-storey ‘sky garden’ and numerous restaurants.

On completion in August 2011, the gleaming structure will soar at 441m in height – only 2.2m shy of the Shreve, Lamb and Harmon-designed Empire State Building in New York City. Just over half the height SOM’s towering Burj Khalifa (828m), the Kingkey Finance Tower looks to put London newest jewel – The Shard by Renzo Piano – in the shade, dwarfing the 310m structure and towering above its rivals on the Shenzhen skyline.

As WAN reported in January, Shenzhen is said to be one of nine Tier Two cities in China which are due to be merged into the world’s largest ‘Megacity'. Together with industrial centres Guangzhou, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmenm, Huizhou and Zhaoqing, Shenzhen is to be become part of an immense business and cultural network connected by water, energy, telecommunications and transport links.

Best known in his home country for TFP Farrells’ Thames Gateway Parklands concept and Charing Cross Station design, Farrell has also made his name in China with major projects such as Kowloon Station Development, Ningbo Eastern New Town Village and most recently the Z15 Tower in Beijing.


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