CapitaLand sets world record for Raffles City Chongqing with highest “horizontal skyscraper” for this architectural and engineering marvel
Demonstrates the Group’s multidisciplinary capabilities in developing an iconic urban district on Chongqing’s historic Chaotianmen riverfront
Singapore, 26 February 2018 – In its relentless pursuit to redefine urban living with smart design and innovative technologies, CapitaLand has written a new world record as it embarks on the complex crowning process for Raffles City Chongqing, the iconic 1.12 million-square-metre (sq m) urban district located on Chongqing’s famed Chaotianmen riverfront. The crowning process features the extraordinary engineering feat of erecting a curved accordion-shaped “horizontal skyscraper” – measuring 300 m in length, 30 m in width and 22.5 m in height – above four 250 m-tall towers at a total height of more than 400 m above sea level. Raffles City Chongqing now holds the world’s record as the development with the highest sky bridge linking the most number of towers.
Mr Lim Ming Yan, President and Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited, said: “Raffles City Chongqing is by far the largest and most complex integrated development that CapitaLand has undertaken. Erecting The Conservatory marks the culmination of five years of construction progress and a grand milestone in outlining Raffles City Chongqing’s image of a powerful sail surging forward, as it prepares to welcome the world in 2019. The hoisting of The Conservatory is not only a significant moment for Raffles City Chongqing, it marks a global milestone in the field of architecture and engineering. Some of the world’s most advanced construction and engineering techniques have been deployed to install this megastructure 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.”
Mr Lim added: “More than just a building, Raffles City Chongqing is a landmark urban renewal project that expresses and shapes Chongqing’s global city aspirations. As the master planner of this important site, CapitaLand fully appreciates the historical and cultural significance of Chaotianmen to the people of Chongqing. We have thus gone to great lengths to imbue the project with the highest standards of liveability, connectivity and sustainability by carefully studying the needs of the community and the unique attributes of the site. Our goal is to create a vibrant riverfront urban district that serves as a dynamic city gateway befitting of Chongqing’s growing economic influence.”
Mr Lucas Loh, CEO of CapitaLand China, said: “As the crowning glory of Raffles City Chongqing, The Conservatory is envisaged as the centre of civic activities where locals and visitors from around the world converge in Chongqing. A highlight is the observation deck, which features an outdoor patio with see-through glass flooring – the tallest of its kind across the whole of west China for the best vantage point to enjoy the stunning views of the Yangtze River and Jialing River merging at Chaotianmen. To ensure the public’s year-round enjoyment of The Conservatory’s facilities, design provisions, such as air-conditioning, have also been catered for. When it opens to the public next year, we are confident that The Conservatory will become a well-loved and well-used community space that lasts for generations.”
Mr Loh added: “Raffles City Chongqing broke ground in September 2012 and five towers have successfully topped out since. One of these is a 350-m supertall skyscraper, which currently holds two records – China’s tallest residential tower and Chongqing’s tallest building. The development’s luxury residential component Raffles City Residences has begun marketing, with an encouraging take-up for two residential towers that have been launched. Jialing One tower has sold 70% of the 215 units launched, while Yangtze Two tower, which debuted later, has sold more than 40% for its 285 units. Part of Raffles City Chongqing’s office component will begin handover end of this year, while the entire development is targeted to open in phases from 2019.”
Singapore’s single largest development in China by CapitaLand and Ascendas-Singbridge, Raffles City Chongqing is an ambitious RMB24 billion (about S$4.9 billion) vertically-built urban district comprising a retail podium and eight skyscrapers for residential, office, serviced residence and hotel use. As the ninth “horizontal skyscraper” with 10,000 sq m of gross floor area (GFA), The Conservatory is the heart of Raffles City Chongqing connecting a total of six vertical towers – four towers at its base and two adjacent towers by cantilever bridges. Designed as the centre of attraction, it houses a rich array of amenities, including a themed observation deck and sky gardens, an infinity pool and a food and beverage zone.
To overcome the site’s unique conditions, which include exposure to strong winds, a wind modelling test was conducted on The Conservatory, together with the eight towers. Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology was also used to coordinate the complex structural and utilities layout of The Conservatory. The support system for The Conservatory’s structure uses advanced frictional pendulum bearings and seismic dampers mounted on the towers. This form of flexibility-driven seismic design dissipates seismic and wind energy more effectively than the conventional rigidity-driven design, and represents a breakthrough in the structural engineering of linked high-rise building clusters.
The Conservatory is made up of a continuous steel structure weighing 12,000 tons, and enclosed with a ring comprising 3,200 pieces of glass and 4,800 aluminium panels. With a length of 300 m, it is longer than Singapore’s tallest building laid on its side. 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.
Hoisting the three middle steel segments of The Conservatory – each weighing up to 1,100 tons – to the designated height of 250 m marks a world first. This extraordinary engineering feat was broadcast throughout China during primetime news on China Central Television last December when the hoisting process began. The Conservatory’s steel structure is targeted to be fully erected by mid-2018, which will be followed by the hoisting of the façade enclosure together with gigantic trees and plants for the sky gardens.
Occupying 9.2 hectares of site area, Raffles City Chongqing brings together a 230,000-sq m shopping mall, 160,000-sq m of Grade A office space, 1,400 residential apartments, Ascott Raffles City Chongqing serviced residence and a luxury hotel – with a total construction floor area of 1.12 million sq m and GFA (excluding car park) of about 817,000 sq m. The development is strategically located on Chaotianmen at the confluence of Yangtze and Jialing rivers in Yuzhong District, next to the traditional Jie Fang Bei central business district.
Boasting excellent connectivity, Raffles City Chongqing is fully integrated with a transport hub comprising a metro station, bus interchange, ferry terminal and cruise centre. It is designed by world-renown architect Moshe Safdie, who drew inspiration from the region’s thousand years of waterway transportation culture to create an image of powerful sails upon the river for Raffles City Chongqing to symbolise the host city’s surging growth.
Construction progress of Raffles City Chongqing and hoisting of the first section of The Conservatory
Raffles City Chongqing is CapitaLand’s eighth Raffles City development in China. The seven others in Beijing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shanghai (with two Raffles City developments) and Shenzhen are operational. Collectively, the eight Raffles City developments in China span about 3 million square metres and are worth about S$13 billion (about RMB64 billion) when fully completed.