In recent years commercial real estate projects throughout the world have begun to come up with public uses for their upper stories – a trend that's due both to the demands of local authorities and to developers’ desire to brand their projects. One example is Sky Garden in London, where the developers were required to create a public garden on the upper floors of their office tower.
The newest of these projects, located in the Chongqing megacity in southwestern China, is a glass sky bridge called the Crystal, which its designers describe as a "horizontal skyscraper." Perched 250 meters above the ground, the $3.4 billion, 300-meter-long cylindrical promenade is one of the highest walkways in the world.
The project was planned by the Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie together with CapitaLand, one of Asia's largest real estate development companies, and it can accommodate up to 3,000 people a day – depending, in the meantime, on rules for social distancing during the coronavirus crisis.
Set atop four of eight towers in a multi-use project called Raffles City, and with connections to two of the higher towers, the 15,000-square-meter complex includes an exploration deck/exhibition space, gardens with hundreds of trees, artificial pools, bars, restaurants, a hotel lobby – and also a view of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers below through a glass-bottom, open-air viewing deck.
Some 12,000 tons of steel, 3,000 sections of glass panels and 5,000 aluminum panels were used in the construction of the Crystal, which recalls yet another of Safdie’s projects, in Singapore: the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The world-famous architect is also currently at work erecting a sky bridge atop skyscrapers in Singapore.