The growing Raffles City Chongqing complex boasts several firsts for China and the world. It’s crowning glory, a 300m “horizontal skyscraper,” set atop the tall, residential and commercial towers, is certainly among the biggest talking points. So much so, that the hoisting of its first section was televised live on prime-time Chinese television. The complex, consisting of eight towers, four of which are joined by the accordion-shaped upper conservatory area, and a lower podium featuring six floors of retail space and a transport hub, comprises a total of 1.12 million square meters. The upper skybridge is the world’s highest and links the world’s greatest number of towers besides offering a unique community space.
Horizontal Skybridge, Called Conservatory, Soon The Highest Skybridge in The World
Construction of the new urban complex takes five years, but the structure is not only impressive from the inside. The curving façade represents a tribute to the sailing boats that plied the Yangtze River and Jialing River, and the two rivers converge at the site of the waterfront property chosen for the Raffles City Chongqing complex. With such a setting, it was natural to make the most of the potential for magnificent views over the city and the water, and the upper conservatory offers the ability for 360-degree enjoyment of the panorama. Singapore-based CapitaLand Limited, the company responsible for the construction of Raffles City Chongqing says that the structure and its horizontal skyscraper conservatory mark a global milestone in construction and structural engineering. The building has certainly received accolades on all fronts, specifically with regard to its liveability, connectivity, and sustainability. Raffles City’s designers, Safdie Architects, thoroughly studied the significance of the site to Chongqing before embarking on a design concept that strove to reflect the city’s aspirations while meeting the needs of its people.
Mr. Lucas Loh, CEO of CapitaLand China, said: “Raffles City Chongqing occupies a strategic location on the Chao Tian Men site in Yuzhong District, at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, highly regarded as the crown jewel of Chongqing. Located next to the traditional Jie Fang Bei CBD, it boasts excellent connectivity as it is fully integrated with a transport hub that comprises a metro station, bus interchange, ferry terminal and cruise centre. The expected sales launch of our residential tower by the end of this year will present a keenly awaited opportunity for investors to own a piece of this iconic architecture at Chao Tian Men, one of the most sought after addresses in the whole of China. It will also appeal to foresighted buyers who appreciate the value of Raffles City Chongqing, which stands to grow in tandem with the city of Chongqing.”
The Conservatory – A City District in the Sky
More than just a building, or even a complex of buildings, Raffles City Chongqing represents an urban district. The upper conservatory area won’t be reserved for the select few. Instead, it will serve as a hub for civic activities and public recreation. It features an infinity pool, a patio observation deck with transparent glass flooring, a sky-high green space, and dining amenities.
Meanwhile, residential, office, and hotel space in the towers is selling fast as the project nears completion, and its developers say that the complex will begin a phased opening process in 2019. The horizontal skyscraper that represents the most remarkable feature of the complex spans four of the eight buildings and is connected to a further two of the eight towers by cantilevered skybridges. The entire project ca be seen as, of course, a further impressive South East Asian lighthouse project.
Mr. Lim Ming Yan, President and Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited, said: “Raffles City Chongqing is by far the largest and most complex integrated development that CapitaLand has undertaken. Erecting The Conservatory marks the culmination of five years of construction progress and a grand milestone in outlining Raffles City Chongqing’s image of a powerful sail surging forward, as it prepares to welcome the world in 2019. The hoisting of The Conservatory is not only a significant moment for Raffles City Chongqing, it marks a global milestone in the field of architecture and engineering. Some of the world’s most advanced construction and engineering techniques have been deployed to install this megastructure on Chaotianmen, known as the crown jewel of Chongqing. CapitaLand is proud to have achieved this phenomenal structural engineering breakthrough of connecting skyscrapers, and we will continue to stay ahead of the curve by breaking new grounds in real estate development.”
Confronting Environmental Challenges
Raffles City Chongqing is impressive at a glance, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. The structure presented engineering challenges owing to its exposure to high winds as well as vulnerability to seismic energy. This was overcome through the use of frictional pendulum bearings and seismic dampers allowing the complex to absorb energy through flexibility rather than attempting to overcome stress through rigidity. Energy efficiency also forms part of Raffles City’s ethos. The retail plaza makes extensive use of natural light, and the overall energy efficiency of the complex has resulted in it being awarded LEED-CS Gold Certification by the US-based Green building council.
With Raffles City nearing completion, Chongqing looks forward to the opening of a complex that will not only raise its international profile with a notable landmark but also meet the needs of city residents and commercial concerns. And, when busy city life becomes stressful, the horizontal skyscraper conservatory will offer a welcome retreat for those who wish to rise above the bustle for open space, greenery, and enjoyment.
Check out the amazing Chongqing photographer Zhu Wenqiao on Instagram (@wenqiao.z). Details of city life, and scenes from the banks of the Jailing and Yangtze Rivers. He's also captured the rise of the Raffles City project for more than a year. @CapitaLand pic.twitter.com/Z3PKlVH2ti
— Safdie Architects (@SafdieArchs) 23 May 2018
Sources: Arup, Safdie Architects, CapitaLand