The Golden Sky Ring was designed to create a new urban gateway through one of Beijing’s busiest intersections. As Beijing continues expanding its massive urban infrastructure through a system of wide-ring roads, traffic is still a major problem because of the continued increase in the number of cars. Huge urban nodes at intersections are not pedestrian friendly and the development of below-grade subway lines further complicate the pedestrian circulation pattern with confusing exits around the street intersections.
The Golden Cross, which can be found at the intersection of the East Third Ring Road and ChangAn Ave. (also the city’s east west central axis), is famously known as the gateway to the Beijing CBD area. Three levels of elevated roads pass through the intersection as a way of organizing the local and express traffic from all directions. It currently takes ten minutes for a pedestrian to pass across the wide streets, navigating through heavy vehicular traffic. The Sky Ring will act as a pedestrian link and subway connection that would allow circulation over the Golden Cross intersection as well as connect buildings above the street level.
Beyond the basic circulation functions, the form was inspired by the Chinese culture’s respect of integrated universal forces and the admiration of the halo caused by sunlight. The Sky Ring is envisioned as an urban space with relaxing gardens, observation decks and a variety of retail stores that will create a new vibrant icon for the CBD district and Beijing. The facade will have an operable skylight system, which will open in the summer to allow natural ventilation and will close in the winter to provide protection. As a prototype the ring can be scaled to fit to different urban scopes. All systems and assemblies can easily be duplicated at any size.