Innovation That Matters

The deck offers spectacular views | Photo source CapitaLand

A 250-metre-high 'horizontal skyscraper' in China

Architecture & Design

The Raffles City Chongqing complex includes a 300-metre-long horizontal sky bridge, named The Crystal

Spotted: We are all used to the notion of skyscrapers creating more space by building up, now a Chinese development is set to become the first to add space by building sideways. The Raffles City Chongqing complex includes a 300-metre-long horizontal sky bridge, named The Crystal, built at a height of 250 metres.

The glass, steel and aluminium sky bridge, which weighs 12,000 tons, is held up by four of the towers in the eight-tower complex. The Exploration Deck of The Crystal includes an exhibition that imagines life on Mars, a “pocket park” and an open-air sky deck with a transparent glass floor that allows visitors to walk in “mid-air” while admiring views of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers below their feet.  

The sky bridge also houses a members-only clubhouse with two swimming pools and an entertainment area, the Sky Garden, is set to open at a later date. The Crystal was built in nine segments – the four segments on the towers were built in situ, but the three segments that are suspended between the towers and the two cantilever segments were built on the ground and hoisted into place.

The entire project was built by developer CapitaLand Group, which has described the project as, “a vertically-built riverfront urban district”. The entire megastructure took seven years to complete. Currently, daily visitor numbers are limited to 3,000, and visitors must purchase tickets before visiting.

While The Crystal sky bridge is unique, it also highlights the way that architecture has been embracing innovation in building design. No longer content with straight-sided glass-and-steel towers, architects are increasingly incorporating unique designs. Some of these recently covered by Springwise include an Australian skyscraper with a “green” spine and a building with an energy-saving “folding façade“.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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