Israeli Architect's 'Horizontal Skyscraper' Finally Open to Brave Visitors

Free your inner Spiderman: visitors to China's Chongqing megacity are now walking on air – literally. The new $3.4 billion 'Crystal' designed by Moshe Safdie boasts views of the heavens and the Yangtze far below

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Go to commentsכתוב תגובה
The glass sky bridge called the Crystal, designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, set atop four of eight towers of the Raffles City project in Chongqing, China, June 2020
The Crystal sky bridge, on top of four towers in the multi-purpose Raffles City project in Chongqing. It also connects with two of the higher towers in the project.Credit: Arch-Exist Photography / Safdie
Naama Riba
Naama Riba

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 Crystal, designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie in Chongqing, China. The 300-meter-long promenade is one of the highest walkways in the world.
The Crystal, designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie in Chongqing, China. The 300-meter-long promenade is one of the highest walkways in the world.Credit: Ascott Raffles City Chongqing
The interior of the Crystal promenade, in the Raffles City project. The 15,000-square-meter complex includes an exploration deck/exhibition, gardens, pools, eateries, etc.
A swimming pool in the Crystal promenade of the Raffles City project. The 15,000-square-meter complex includes an exploration deck/exhibition, gardens, pools and eateries.Credit: Safdie Architects
The glass sky bridge called the Crystal, designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, in conjunction with CapitaLand developers, in Chongqing, China, June 2020
The Crystal sky walk, designed by Safdie. Perched 250 meters above the ground, it cost $3.4 billion to build.Credit: Zhu Wenqiao / CapitaLand
An architectural drawing showing the plan for the Crystal at Raffles City, Chongqing, China.
An architectural drawing showing the interior plan for the Crystal at Raffles City, Chongqing, China.Credit: ©Safdie Architects

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.

The glass sky bridge called the Crystal, designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, in conjunction with CapitaLand developers, in Chongqing, China, June 2020
The interior of the Crystal promenade, in the Raffles City project. The 15,000-square-meter complex includes an exploration deck/exhibition, gardens, pools, eateries, etc.Credit: Arch-Exist Photography / Moshe Safdie
The glass sky bridge called the Crystal, designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie in conjunction with CapitaLand developers, in Chongqing, China, June 2020
The Crystal, designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie in Chongqing, China. The 300-meter-long promenade is one of the highest walkways in the world.Credit: CapitaLand
The glass sky bridge called the Crystal, designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, set atop four of eight towers of the Raffles City project in Chongqing, China, June 2020
The Crystal "horizontal skyscraper," designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, atop four of eight towers of the Raffles City projectCredit: CapitaLand China

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.

I've seen that worm before: Cyclists ride past the Marina Bay Sands hotel and resort in Singapore, another project by Moshe Sfadie.
I've seen that worm before: Cyclists ride past the Marina Bay Sands hotel and resort in Singapore, another project by Moshe Sfadie.Credit: AFP