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CapitaLand sets world record with highest 'horizontal skyscraper'

Staff Writer |
In its relentless pursuit to redefine urban living with smartrndesign 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.

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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.

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.

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