One of the year’s most eagerly awaited attractions in China, the
250-metre-high Exploration Deck Viewing Gallery (Exploration Deck), a star feature of The Crystal sky bridge at Raffles City Chongqing, opened to the public last weekend. In addition to a 270-degree panorama of Chongqing’s skyline, visitors to the glass-bottom deck – the highest of its kind in Western China – are treated to the thrills of walking in “mid-air” while
admiring magnificent views of Yangtze River’s brown merging with Jialing River’s blue below their feet.
As part of crowd management, only 3,000 tickets are available daily currently. Almost all the available tickets in the opening weekend were snapped up. The enthusiastic response to the Exploration Deck echoed the successful opening of Raffles City Chongqing’s shopping mall
component, which welcomed over 900,000 shoppers during its opening weekend in September 2019.
Mr Lucas Loh, President, China, CapitaLand Group, said: “A vertically-built riverfront urban district, Raffles City Chongqing is a megastructure that took seven years to complete and The Crystal sky bridge is its key attraction. We are therefore heartened that the Exploration Deck, which is the first component of The Crystal sky bridge to be unveiled to the public, has been
well-received. The Exploration Deck is the first major attraction to launch in Chongqing since the lifting of the country’s nationwide lockdown and the public’s enthusiastic response is yet another encouraging sign of recovery in consumer sentiment. As a long-term real estate player in China, CapitaLand will continue to focus on delighting consumers with attractive and quality products and services, while working with our ecosystem partners to contribute towards the country’s economic recovery.”
Visitors to the Exploration Deck begin their journey at Level 1 with an exploration-themed exhibition, in collaboration with National Geographic. The first part of the exhibition introduces the history and development of Chongqing before leading visitors to the express elevator which takes about 52 seconds to reach the top. When the lift opens at Level 47, visitors are
transported to a futuristic world that imagines life on planet Mars. At the end of the exhibition, visitors enter a tranquil pocket park before stepping onto an open-air sky deck with see- through glass floor and exhilarating views.
The Exploration Deck is part of The Crystal, an enclosed sky bridge that is connected to six of Raffles City Chongqing’s eight skyscrapers – four 250-metre-tall skyscrapers at its base and two adjacent skyscrapers by cantilever bridges. This earned The Crystal the distinction as the
world’s highest sky bridge linking the most number of skyscrapers.
Measuring 300 metres in length, 32.5 metres in width and 26.5 metres in height with a total gross floor area of 10,000 square metres (sq m), The Crystal is also known as Raffles City Chongqing’s “horizontal skyscraper”. Apart from the Exploration Deck, The Crystal houses The Private Club, a members-only clubhouse with two swimming pools, and a wide range of
restaurants and bars at the Sky Garden. The Sky Garden is targeted to begin operations in 3Q 2020.
Erecting The Crystal was a feat of engineering that took about a year, starting from end 2017. The Crystal is made up of a continuous steel structure weighing 12,000 tons and enclosed with a ring comprising about 3,000 pieces of glass panels and close to 5,000 aluminium panels. 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 Crystal – each weighing up to 1,100 tons – to the designated height of 250 metres marked a world first.
Raffles City Chongqing is strategically located on Chaotianmen, a historic site overlooking the confluence of Yangtze and Jialing rivers in Yuzhong District. It is Singapore’s and CapitaLand’s single largest development in China at RMB24 billion (S$4.8 billion). The integrated development spans 1.12 million sq m and comprises a 235,000-sq m shopping mall, 150,000-sq m of Grade A office space, about 1,400 residential apartments, Ascott Raffles City Chongqing serviced residence and InterContinental Raffles City Chongqing hotel. The integrated development is connected to a major transport hub comprising ferry, subway and bus stations.