Architecture

Huge "horizontal skyscraper" rises in China

Raffles City Chongqing's "horizontal skyscraper" is named the Conservatory and measures 300 m (984 ft)-long
Raffles City Chongqing's "horizontal skyscraper" is named the Conservatory and measures 300 m (984 ft)-long
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Raffles City Chongqing's "horizontal skyscraper" is named the Conservatory and measures 300 m (984 ft)-long
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Raffles City Chongqing's "horizontal skyscraper" is named the Conservatory and measures 300 m (984 ft)-long
The interior of the Conservatory includes an infinity pool, observation points, greenery and more
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The interior of the Conservatory includes an infinity pool, observation points, greenery and more
Designed by high-profile architect Moshe Safdie, Raffles City Chongqing is meant to resemble a sail
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Designed by high-profile architect Moshe Safdie, Raffles City Chongqing is meant to resemble a sail
Developer CapitaLand refers to Raffles City Chongqing's skybridge as a horizontal skyscraper 
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Developer CapitaLand refers to Raffles City Chongqing's skybridge as a horizontal skyscraper 

China boasts more than its fair share of impressive engineering feats, including the world's second-tallest skyscraper and the highest bridge. We can soon add highest skybridge to the list too, courtesy of Moshe Safdie's Raffles City Chongqing project, which is currently under construction in southwest China.

Developer CapitaLand's reference to the skybridge as a horizontal skyscraper is an exaggeration, but a forgivable one. Named the Conservatory, this thing is massive and measures 300 m (984 ft) in length. Its curved structure is supported at a height of 250 m (820 ft) by four mixed-use towers, which themselves include offices, apartments (under the Ascott Raffles City Chongqing brand), retail space and hotels. An adjacent pair of 350 m (1,148 ft)-tall towers are linked by a couple of smaller skybridges. In all, the project has eight towers planned.

The interior of the Conservatory features an infinity pool, sky gardens, and observation decks. It comprises a steel structure weighing 12,000 tons and is enclosed with 3,200 pieces of glass and 4,800 aluminum panels. Engineering firm Arup is lending its expertise to help the team navigate potential dangers like high winds and seismic activity, not to mention getting the thing up there safely in the first place.

"To erect efficiently, the steel structure is first divided into nine segments – four segments that are built in-situ above the four towers; three middle segments suspended between the four towers that are prefabricated on ground and hoisted into place by hydraulic strand jacks; and two cantilever segments that are assembled in short sections from the two ends of the rightmost and leftmost towers," explains CapitaLand in a press release.

Designed by high-profile architect Moshe Safdie, Raffles City Chongqing is meant to resemble a sail
Designed by high-profile architect Moshe Safdie, Raffles City Chongqing is meant to resemble a sail

The Conservatory's steel structure is expected to be fully in place by mid-2018. Following this, the glazing will be installed along with the trees and plants for the sky gardens. It should hopefully then be open to the public sometime in 2019.

The Raffles City Chongqing project is also slated for LEED Gold (a green building standard) and energy-efficient measures planned include optimizing shades to reduce heat, an efficient irrigation system, an effort to recycle construction waste, and the use of partly-recycled building materials.

Sources: Arup, Safdie Architects, CapitaLand

3 comments
WolfeSA
Eventually no doubt most cities will densify and go up and the surrounding countryside will be left to robot farmers and eccentic loners!
aki009
Nice design, but zero originality. It's a copy of the Singapore Marina Bay Sands, even down to the curvature of the towers. (The developer is from Singapore, so the similarity is probably intentional.)
ljaques
WolfeSA, yeah, and I'll finally get some peace. <g> I think these buildings are cool and fun. The Singapore building looks like it's topped by a curved ocean liner with a tropical forest in the middle. Lovely. From a practical standpoint, the horizontal top structure braces the verticals, provides indoor running space, and allows for much more solar collection, should they require (or think to include) it. Bravo.