Currently under construction in Chongqing, China, Moshe Safdie’s Raffles City Chongqing features an extraordinary engineering feat of erecting a 300 meter long “horizontal skyscraper” above four 250 meter high towers. An extensive urban district set at the meeting point between the Yangtze and Jialing rivers once constructed Raffles City Chongqing will hold the world record of the highest sky bridge linking the towers.
The 1.12 million square meter project consists of 8 skyscrapers, a retail podium and the Conservatory, a huge sky bridge linking 6 of the towers, with 4 at the base and 2 adjacent towers connected through cantilever bridges. The program contains a shopping mall, offices, 1400 residential apartments, serviced residence and a luxury hotel. The center of attraction is the horizontal Conservatory, where public space is lifted high into the air, with a themed observation deck and sky gardens, an infinity pool and a food and beverage zone. It acts not only as a connection between the towers but as its own fully programmed structure, with internal streets and gardens.
To overcome the site’s exposure to strong winds, the Conservatory’s structure uses advanced frictional pendulum bearings and seismic dampers mounted on the towers. This use of flexibility-driven design dispels wind energy more effectively than conventional methods, representing a breakthrough in the structural engineering of linked high-rises. The steel structure weighs 12,000 tonnes and is enclosed with a ring of glass and aluminum panels. To erect the huge structure, it has been divided into nine segments. Four are built in-situ above the four towers, while the three middle segments which are suspended between the four towers are prefabricated on the ground and hoisted into place by hydraulic strand jacks. The ends of the Conservatory are then assembled in short sections from the ends of the two adjacent towers. It is targeted to be fully erected by mid-2018.
The design of Raffles City Chongqing focuses on connectivity with local transport networks and the city streets. Architect Moshe Safdie drew inspiration from the region’s waterway transportation culture to create a design that attempts to be reminiscent of powerful sails on the water.
“More than just a building, Raffles City Chongqing is a landmark urban renewal project that expresses and shapes Chongqing’s global city aspirations. As the master planner of this important site, CapitaLand fully appreciates the historical and cultural significance of Chaotianmen to the people of Chongqing. We have thus gone to great lengths to imbue the project with the highest standards of liveability, connectivity and sustainability by carefully studying the needs of the community and the unique attributes of the site. Our goal is to create a vibrant riverfront urban district that serves as a dynamic city gateway befitting of Chongqing’s growing economic influence.”
-Mr. Lim Ming Yan, President and CEO of property developer CapitaLand Limited on the economic significance of the project