Singapore’s CapitaLand now holds a world record for the curved, 300 metre sky bridge atop its RMB 24 billion ($3.8 billion) multi-tower mega-project in the western Chinese city of Chongqing.
Designed by Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie, the eight-skyscraper Raffles City Chongqing project will feature the highest sky bridge linking the greatest number of towers in the world. The sky bridge, called The Conservatory, will be 300 metres long, 30 metres wide and 22.5 metres high, and will sit atop four 250-metre-tall skyscrapers.
Perched at more than 400 metres above sea level, the tubular steel structure will also connect a pair of adjacent towers by cantilever bridges. Safdie’s team also designed the landmark Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore, which features three towers topped by a 200-metre-high cantilevered sky garden.
The overall Raffles City Chongqing development will integrate 1.12 million square metres of residential, serviced residence, office, retail and hotel space upon completion. CapitaLand broke ground on the project in the Chaotianmen riverfront area in September 2012 and began hoisting the sky bridge last December.
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“Raffles City Chongqing is by far the largest and most complex integrated development that CapitaLand has undertaken,” commented Lim Ming Yan, president and group CEO of CapitaLand Limited in a statement. “Some of the world’s most advanced construction and engineering techniques have been deployed to install this mega-structure 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,” he added.
The Conservatory is targetted to be fully erected by mid-2018, which will be followed by the hoisting of the façade enclosure together with trees and plants for the structure’s sky garden. Envisioned as a drawcard for visitors and a “centre of civic activities,” the sky bridge will boast a themed observation deck, an infinity pool and restaurants upon completion.
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The sky bridge is made up of a steel structure weighing 12,000 tons, enclosed within a ring containing 4,800 aluminium panels and 3,200 pieces of glass. To get this structure in the air required dividing it into nine segments. The three middle segments, each weighing up to 1,100 tons, were prefabricated on the ground and began to be hoisted in place in December, a daunting engineering task that was broadcast on prime time news throughout China.
The process involved the use of advanced synchronous hydraulic lifting technology. Four other segments are being built in-situ above the quartet of towers, and the final two cantilever segments will be assembled in short sections in the air.
The accordion-shaped sky bridge stands out among the world’s mega-projects with lofty inter-building links. Among its competitors are the Golden Eagle Tiandi Tower A in eastern China’s Nanjing, developed by Nanjing Golden Eagle International Group, which has a bridge structure linking three buildings at a height of around 200 metres.
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First announced in 2011, Raffles City Chongqing occupies a 9.2 hectare site at the junction of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in Yuzhong district. The development will include a 230,000 square metre shopping mall, 160,000 square metres of grade A office space, and 1,400 apartments along with Ascott Raffles City Chongqing serviced residence and a luxury hotel.
The project is being developed by a joint venture of CapitaLand and Ascendas-Singbridge, and is said to be the largest single investment by a Singaporean firm in China.
Five towers of Raffles City Chongqing have already been topped out. Among them is a 350-metre skyscraper that holds the distinction of being China’s tallest residential tower as well as the tallest building in the Chongqing mega-city.
Raffles City Residences, the luxury residential component of the project, has begun marketing with the launch of Jialing One tower – which has sold 70 percent of the 215 units offered – followed by Yangtze Two tower, which has moved more than 40 percent of its 285 units, according to CapitaLand.
Part of the office component will be handed over by the end of this year, and the entire development is scheduled to open in phases from 2019.