A 250m high deck designed as part of the megastructure Raffles City Chongqing by Safdie Architects has opened to the public in China. The open-air sky deck treats visitors to the thrill of walking mid-air and its sweeping glass bottom reveal 270 degree view of the ‘Yangtze River's brown merging with the Jialing River’s blue.’
The Exploration Deck is part of an enclosed sky bridge called The Crystal, which stands as the highest of its kind in the world, linking the most number of skyscrapers. Spanning a length of 300m, the ‘horizontal skyscraper’ is connected to six of the development’s eight towers – four 250m tall at its base and other two by cantilever bridges.
Designed for CapitaLand, one of the largest real estate groups in Asia, the 1.12 million sqm development of Raffles City Chongqing includes a 235,000 sqm shopping mall, 150,000 sqm of office space, and about 1,400 residential apartments in addition to a gallery, various restaurants, an infinity pool and lush gardens within The Crystal.
“The Exploration Deck is the first major attraction to launch in Chongqing since the lifting of the country’s nationwide lockdown,” says Lucas Loh, CapitaLand Group’s China President.
Seven years have gone in building the project as a riverfront urban district on the historic site of Chaotianmen in China’s Yuzhong district. Its success can be evaluated from the fact that over 900,000 people visited the development’s shopping mall at its opening weekend in September 2019. Following the magnificent response, the deck, which opened as a key attraction of the Crystal skybridge towards the end of May 2020, is expected to welcome 3000 visitors per day.
Visitors to the Exploration Deck begin their journey at Level 1, where an exploration-themed exhibition, curated in collaboration with National Geographic, introduces them to the history and development of Chongqing. Further an express elevator takes about 52 seconds to reach the top 47th storey, where they are transported to a ‘futuristic world that imagines life on planet Mars’. Hosting a part of the exhibition, this space spills onto a tranquil pocket park and the open-air sky deck beyond.
The skybridge is erected in the form of a continuous steel structure enclosing a ring made of thousands of glass and aluminium panels. “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,” reads an official statement from CapitaLand.
“Hoisting the three middle steel segments of The Crystal – each weighing up to 1,100 tons – to the designated height of 250 metres marked a world first.”
The integrated development of Raffles City Chongqing designed as ‘a people’s destination’ marks Safdie Architects’ fourth collaboration with CapitaLand.