At the junction of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers of Chongqing in southern China stands the recently topped out Raffles City, where you can visit the world’s highest skybridge – if you dare!

WSP has provided MEP and vertical transportation engineering consultancy services from the conceptual stage right through to construction completion for one of the world’s largest, most iconic developments under construction. It comprises eight skyscrapers, two of which, at 350m high, are Chongqing’s tallest buildings, with the other six rising to 250 metres. Four of these latter towers are connected by a 300-metre-long skybridge, often referred to as the ‘horizontal skyscraper’, (It’s almost as long as The Shard is tall), called ‘Crystal’.

The eight skyscrapers, containing 150,000m2 of office space, about 1,400 residential apartments and a luxury hotel, rise from the greenery of a roof-top park above a super-size (235,000m2) shopping mall housed in the six-storey podium. The Crystal, which was opened in May 2020, contains multiple dining and event spaces, a hotel lobby, and a members-only clubhouse with an infinity pool. At the end is a vertigo-inducing, glass-bottomed observation deck for visitors to enjoy the views of the rivers merging at Chongqing’s Chaotianmen area, one of the oldest parts of the city, 250 metres below.

Optimum energy-efficiency

This multiple award-winning project incorporates advanced district cooling and energy efficient systems designed by WSP. Our project manager, technical director Amy Xiao-Min Jiang, explained how her team worked with the system operators, Singapore Power, to optimise the systems to achieve an energy efficiency improvement of 50%. “The integrated energy management system covers the entire development,” she said. “It includes a chilled water supply system with the temperature adjusted for the different requirements of the hotel, offices and landscaped areas for effective energy saving. Each apartment has a low temperature hot water floor heating system to provide the best comfort level in winter. And the whole development has a highly reliable power supply with dual and standby power sources.” In addition, the indoor air quality of the offices has been significantly improved with the provision of electrostatic filtration for the air-conditioning system. “We also worked with the LEED consultant to ensure the MEP system would satisfy the LEED requirements for the project,” Amy added. “This is Chongqing city’s largest development to be awarded a LEED Gold rating.”

Smart and intelligent

Full 5G network coverage provides state-of-the-art network connectivity throughout the development enabling the latest developments in smart and intelligent technology. In the hotel, a guest room control system is able to record electricity usage and to control all switches. It can also monitor guest movements by infrared and automatically control the lighting and adjust the room temperature as required. In the office building a face recognition system provides access control and an intelligent pre-dispatching elevator selection system has been adopted for the super grade A office standard elevators. Face recognition technology and a visitor management system are also used for office and residential buildings. The residential units have smart home systems which can be controlled remotely to manage indoor air conditioning, floor heating, lighting, mood, etc, as well as showing the status of other public areas in the development through the intelligent eye monitoring system.

Our second iconic project by the same architect

Raffles City Chongqing is developed by CapitaLand, one of Asia’s largest real estate diversified groups. Based and listed in Singapore, CapitaLand has over 25 years of experience operating in China. Raffles City Chongqing is designed by architect Moshe Safdie. The practice was also the brain behind Singapore’s Marina Sands – another record-breaking iconic landmark (its infinity swimming pool is set on top of the world’s largest public cantilevered platform) that has benefited from the MEP expertise of WSP.

It seems that we certainly do have a head for heights!