In response to the exponential population growth in cities, the common solution has been ever-increasing tower heights, but these disconnected units lose the dynamic interconnectivity of neighborhood development. To create a connected, engaged, and humane urban landscape, the pathways between these vertical nodes must advance. Working in one of the world’s fastest growing and densest cities, Safdie Architects designed the Crystal at Raffles City Chongqing (RCCQ), China to create an additional level of public space, link multiple towers together, and draw the public into the highest levels of the project. The Crystal offers access to nature, exhibits, spectacular views, and unique experiences, presenting a new vision for a three-dimensional building matrix.
Set at the confluence of the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers, RCCQ is a vibrant mixed-use development with eight towers situated above a retail podium and public park. The towers offer a mix of residential, office, and hospitality settings. Spanning across four southern towers, the 280m-long Crystal knits six of the eight tower structures together, both horizontally and vertically. Amenities include a public observatory and garden, numerous dining options, bar and event space, a residential clubhouse, infinity pool, and hotel lobby. Because Chongqing’s climate can fluctuate drastically, the glass enclosure will ensure year-round enjoyment of the indoor gardens.
Bridging between buildings creates and defines an intimate neighborhood or workplace, while also providing an urban street in the sky, offering opportunities for linking various communities together. The Crystal creates a new plane or stratum from which to ground the rising massing above, allowing for an integrated transition between the program above and below while humanizing and activating the tall building. At the height of 250m, the Crystal offers much of the same type of connectivity found at podium level or below grade, but here with new meaning, and new opportunity.