Denver-trained architect shows his creation: The second tallest building in the world

SHANGHAI, China -- Hope you're not afraid of heights, because we're taking a trip 2,074 feet in the air.  Even clustered among one of the most dazzling, modern skylines in the world, Shanghai Tower stands out.  It's the second tallest building in the world.  And it has a unique tie to Denver.

The man who designed this mega-building to reach nearly a half mile into the sky - studied and trained in the Mile High City.

"I always think of (Denver) as my home, although it's my second home, I'll probably retire and live here," said Jun Xia during a recent visit to FOX 31.

Xia spent more than a decade in Denver before shattering all kinds of architecture records when his skyscraper opened in China in 2016.

He was born in Shanghai, but got his masters at CU Denver and went to work in the Mile High at an architecture firm called Gensler.

A few years ago, he got the assignment of a lifetime: building one of the largest skyscrapers in the world.  Step on the fastest elevators on the planet (traveling 45 miles per hour) and in seconds, you're on the observation deck, with a birds eye view of this Chinese city of 24 million people.  That is, if you can see through the smog and pollution.  Which brings us to another record for the Denver-trained architect.

"We're the greenest super tall building in the world," Xia said.  So green, 200 wind turbines at the top generate electricity to power part of the building.

Xia says he learned to build on this large scale when his firm helped design Denver International Airport.

"I'm a frequent user of the airport, and I'm so proud of it," Xia said.

On the DIA project he learned crucial lessons that helped him reach for the stars, like how to work with others.

"It's not one person, it takes a whole big team working together. That's very important," Xia said.

They're lessons he continues to use on his latest project - which is also inspired by his time in Colorado. He's helping develop a ski town - from scratch - outside Beijing - to be used in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"Actually I told a lot of people because I'm from Colorado, I know about all the ski towns we have, because I've been to all of those mountains, you know, have good vision of what a ski town should look like," Xia said.

A former Colorado man, changing the face of China.  We all know that our can be inspiring... but who knew it could inspire something like this.

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