Eight skyscrapers form a complex and unique urban ensemble, crowned by a fantastic construction in the form of a lying building.
The powerful presence of China in the world is evident not only by its millenary culture, capable of influencing various facets of our life, such as food or business. The tentacles of the Asian giant can be seen without decorum and with an excessive ambition, which becomes more evident when we enter its territory, because it is there where they shamelessly show their singular power, building impressive infrastructures like the one we show you today: Raffles City Chongqing.
Raffles City Chongqing is a premier urban project, built on an iconic location in Chongqing City: the crossroads of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, in the Jiangbei financial district. The location has played a major role in the design, since it has allowed the architect to come up with the most incredible of insignia. The building imitates the shape of a traditional Chinese sailboat, which boldly unfolds its fabrics on an earthly wedge, yes, in the shape of skyscrapers.
A design that imitates an ancient Chinese ship
The architectural feat, of course, has come from the mind of one of the most famous architects in the world: Moshe Safdie, creator of the Marina Bay Sand, who got down to work after receiving the commission, devising the eight skyscrapers that make up the idyllic construction. Of the eight, the first two towers reach 350 meters high, becoming the tallest in the city. The other six, located behind the previous ones, reach 250 meters in height, placing the plot in one of the most tidy in buildings over 200 meters high.
The skyscrapers maintain two of their facades in a rectilinear shape, those facing east and west, however, the facades facing north and south (front and back of the complex) are concave and convex arched, all in the same sense, simulating the movement of the sails of ancient Chinese ships. Its design is a genius worth taking the hat off, but it is not the most important… A mega-structure of enormous dimensions called The Crystal perches on the four interior skyscrapers.
A horizontal skyscraper that is supported by four towers
You could say that The Crystal is the ninth skyscraper, although in reality it is a huge airlift. It is a tubular-shaped structure supported by four skyscrapers 300 meters long, 32.5 meters wide and 26.5 meters high. In other words, the ninth skyscraper reaches 276.5 meters above ground level. It is undoubtedly the jewel of the architectural ensemble and a feat of modern engineering. We can imagine what is in it… a spectacular viewpoint, lush gardens, restaurants and the icing on the cake: a mega infinity pool!
The steel structure of the airlift weighs 12,000 tons, the same as the Eiffel Tower in France, and is protected by a ring made of 3,000 glass plates and 5,000 aluminum panels. For the construction of the structure, it was divided into nine segments, four executed in situ on the supporting skyscrapers, three segments suspended between the towers, which were raised from the ground by means of hydraulic jacks, and two cantilevers at the ends made up of pieces. assembled from buildings. This could be explained to us by the company in charge of lifting operations, Favelle Favco Group.
Homes, offices, parks and a shopping center
The new urban area has everything to be able to develop a complete life. Residences, of which 772 homes are currently for sale distributed in three skyscrapers and that according to the developer Capitaland own 72% of them; offices, mostly in the two 350-meter towers; parks and leisure areas, both in The Crystal and around and in the middle of the buildings; sports pier; luxury hotel and a huge shopping center at its base. It is clear that whoever lives here will have almost everything at hand.
In total, the unique complex has 1.12 million square meters of built area that have cost about 4.8 billion dollars, in exchange, 4.32 billion euros. Under its towers and in the form of a podium, there is a five-story shopping center with a surface area of 235,000 square meters, with capacity for 450 stores. The weekend of its inauguration (September 2019) it reached a staggering 900,000 visits, according to its promoters, who have said that 95% of the businesses were awarded for that day.
Two points to take into account, the wind and the influence of the whole
The local architecture company P&T Group International Ltd helped urban planning to be especially careful with the layout of the main streets and avenues of that part of the city, modernizing and adapting the new areas so that the transition between these and the existing ones was minimal. In this way, the new subway, bus and ferry terminals are complemented by the historical framework. The company that solved the logistical problems and took control of the work (which in our country we would standardize the work of technical architects) was Rider Levett Bucknall.
The proud parents of the complex’s engineering, the international Arup, the American Parsons Brinckerhoff and the facade specialist ALT can boast of their great slenderness, which reaches a ratio of 9.5 meters of height for every meter of width. In order for the structures to be able to absorb their own loads and the forces of the wind, it was decided to distribute them in four mega-columns in the corner, connected to a central core of reinforced concrete. The structural study had to take into account the force of the wind and the influence of the whole, because let’s think that eight skyscrapers on the same site can affect each other.
China, a leading country in skyscrapers
The interior design was carried out by CL3 Architects Ltd. and The Buchan Group. The first company took care of the skyscrapers, the five-star Ascott House hotel, and the convention center; while the second worked in the mall. China has been the country that builds the most skyscrapers for years. Their ironclad economy seems to have no end and, we may like it or not, but there is no doubt that their projects are increasingly spectacular, projects in which they use all the means at their disposal and, as tools, architecture and engineering have a lot to say.