The plan is set for the highest skyscraper in China to stand tall in a few years. China's largest stainless steel façade will come from Outokumpu.
In China, more and more skyscrapers are built as the economy grows. Stainless steel has become the preferred material for impressive architectural façades because of its unmatched qualities. Exceptional longevity combined with aesthetic appeal was some of the criteria that convinced Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, China, to choose Outokumpu as its stainless steel provider.
Set to be finished in April 2016, the Ping An Finance Center will house 0.5 square kilometers of building area. It will be used as the headquarter of Ping An Life Insurance Company of China, combining office functions with high-end shops, fine restaurants and an entertainment complex. The building will be China’s highest skyscraper, and the second tallest in the world. The building will be adorned by the largest stainless steel façade in the world to date. Therefore, choosing the right supplier was no walk in the park – substantive research on the bidders was needed.
“Outokumpu stood out for its rich global experience and highly efficient and customized products. Outokumpu’s vision, ‘a world that lasts forever', and their mission of ‘creating long lasting and recyclable advanced materials’ is the perfect match to our vision of providing a sustainable testament to the pioneering spirit of Shenzhen,” says the spokesperson from the Ping An Finance Center.
A lasting impression
The façade is an important part of the structure of any skyscraper – high-quality stainless steel often comes to the rescue. Its mechanical properties allow for a thinner façade, which still keeps the building insulated from the elements and sound. Unrivaled corrosion resistance boosts longevity while helping other long-life materials, such as wood, stone, concrete and masonry achieve their potential.
Austin Lu, Senior Vice President of the APAC Business Area at Outokumpu, is familiar with the advantages stainless steel provides for the architectural sector. That not-so-small difference manifests itself in monumental buildings with a long lifespan. “Take the Eiffel Tower in Paris, for instance: built using wrought iron, the landmark undergoes a costly maintenance every ten years. What’s more, it takes up to three years to finish the bottom three floors. This is not only expensive and technically demanding, but also unsustainable.”
Lu draws a comparison with the Chrysler Building, which is decorated with Outokumpu’s stainless steel: “As a result, the Chrysler Building’s maintenance costs are much lower. After its history of over 80 years, the building is still as good as new.” The Ping An Finance Center is designed by the American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), whose spokesperson speaks highly of Outokumpu’s stainless steel for the demanding skyscraper project: “The performance is one of the best. It is durable in challenging conditions delivering ever longer project life cycles.”
Investing in the future
China is a strategic focus for Outokumpu’s development. According to Lu, the market will keep growing through more investments and local cooperation. In addition to bringing its 100-year legacy and expertise to China, Outokumpu plans to learn from the Chinese market to determine what the market needs in terms of sustainable development, especially in the face of economic and population growth and urbanization. To better serve Chinese customers and provide localized products and services, Outokumpu established a Service Center in Kunshan, Jiangsu, in 2010.
“The global experience we have developed for over a century is now coming to China,” Lu says. “We are delighted to help China build signature buildings such as the Ping An Finance Center, and thus bring a new wave of industrial innovation.”