China 12 March (BelTA - People's Daily) - Magine walking between a group of skyscrapers, not on the ground but over the rooftop - you would soon be able to do so in China. Construction workers in the city of Chongqing, south-west China, are building a huge rooftop corridor that connects six 60-storey towers at 820 feet high.
Stretching 984 feet like a horizontal skyscraper, the enormous glass-walled structure is nearly as long as The Shard in London laid on its side.
Once completed, the innovative sky bridge will have a glass-bottomed outdoor observation deck. From there, daredevil visitors will be able to enjoy the views of the Yangtze River and Jialing River merging at Chongqing's Chaotianmen area, one of the oldest part of the mega metropolis with some 30 million residents.
Measuring 98 feet in width and 74 feet in height, the lofty passageway is the crown jewel of an ambitious £2.7 billion project that comprises eight skyscrapers: six at 820 feet tall and two at 1,148 feet tall. The passageway will comprise 3,200 pieces of glass and 4,800 aluminium panels and weigh a staggering 12,000 tonnes, the equivalent of 1.5 Eiffel Towers or 20 Airbus 380 planes.
The humongous complex, called Raffles City Chongqing, is invested by Singaporean real estate company CapitaLand which owns a chain of shopping malls and office buildings across China.
Occupying an area the size of 170 football fields, the eight-building complex is designed by Canadian-Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, who is also the brain behind Singapore's landmark Marina Bay Sands. To build such a huge structure on top of multiple skyscrapers is a complicated process. According to CapitaLand, workers are constructing it in nine parts. Four of them are built directly on top of the four buildings in the middle.
Three sections used to connect the buildings are constructed on the ground. They will then be hoisted up by hydraulic strand jacks and attached to the side of the buildings to form a continuous passageway with four neighbouring parts. The remaining two segments situated on both ends will be built in short sections from the rightmost and leftmost towers. They will connect the corridor to the two adjacent buildings via cantilever bridges. Each of the three between-building sections weighs 1,100 tonnes, and the first section has been lifted up and mounted to the side of two towers.
The entire rooftop passage is expected to complete by the end of June this year, according to a spokesperson from Raffles City Chongqing.
In addition to the vertigo-inducing observation deck, it will contain two swimming pools, various restaurants and meeting rooms; while the eight skyscrapers will have luxury homes, shopping malls, offices and hotels. The whole complex is scheduled to open in stages from 2019. Five of the eight buildings have topped out so far.
As a country passionate about skyscrapers, China is planning and building some of the world's most dramatic high-rise projects. According to Shanghai-based news site Jiemian.com, nearly 70 per cent of the worldwide skyscrapers were built in China in 2016, which already has half of the world's 10 tallest buildings.
A previous report from China Economic Weekly said by 2022, China will have a total of 1,318 skyscrapers - or high-rise building taller than 498 feet.
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