Following six years of construction, the Moshe Safdie-designed Raffles City Chongqing is nearing completion in China. Representing a genuinely impressive engineering achievement, the so-called horizontal skyscraper consists of a cluster of eight towers and a huge connecting skybridge. Developer CapitaLand reports that it's now structurally complete and work is ongoing finishing its interior. The official opening ceremony is expected to take place in the second half of 2019.
Reminiscent of Safdie's Marina Bay Sands, but even more ambitious, Raffles City Chongqing also involves engineering firm Arup. Its unusual design is inspired by the sails of the Chinese trading vessels that once plied their trade in the busy river that runs through the city.
The scale of the project is considerable, with a total floorspace of 817,000 sq m (roughly 8.8 million sq ft), spread over its eight towers. The curved skybridge, dubbed the Crystal, is its focal point and is supported by four 250 m (820 ft)-tall skyscrapers. It also connects another pair of 350 m (1,148 ft)-tall skyscrapers via two adjoining smaller skybridges.
The Crystal measures 300 m (984 ft) in length, which, if made vertical, would be almost the height of the Eiffel Tower. It's clad in roughly 3,000 glass panels and almost 5,000 aluminum panels.
To get the Crystal into position some 250 m (820 ft)-high, it was divided into nine segments. Four pieces were built in place atop the towers and three middle segments were prefabricated on the ground and hoisted into place. The end pieces were mostly assembled in place, with finishing sections also hoisted up from the ground.
The Crystal's interior will include two swimming pools, a gallery, large gardens with trees, and restaurants, and a viewing point, among other amenities.
The rest of Raffles City Chongqing will host residential and office space, as well as a shopping mall and a large landscaped site measuring 9.2 hectares (22.7 acres).
Check out the video below to see the towers rising and sections of the skybridge being hoisted into position.
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