Tencent Seafront Towers, Shenzhen, contains a running track, gym, coffee shop, ping-pong and billiards tables, and a full-size basketball court in one of its two skybridges.

The team poses with the mascot penguin of Tencent, one of China’s leading software development companies, at its headquarters in Shenzhen.

Two of the researchers, Daniel Safarik and Zachary Zuspan, atop the “Conservatory,” the skybridge at Raffles City Chongqing.

The Conservatory at Raffles City Chongqing will support live trees weighing up to 4 metric tons, which are lifted into place, fully intact, in a special elevator.

Large hydraulic dampers at Raffles City Chongqing mitigate the differential movement of the skybridge and the four towers upon which it is supported.

The research team joins colleagues from Modern Land on a tour of Linked Hybrid, Beijing.

The research team poses with the Petronas Towers leadership on the skybridge linking the twin structures.

July 31, 2019

SHENZHEN, CHONGQING, BEIJING and KUALA LUMPUR – Three researchers from the CTBUH Skybridges Research Team visited four key skybridge-linked projects in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Chongqing, and Beijing, and the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. The journey was part of the 18-month research project “Skybridges: Bringing the Horizontal Into the Vertical Realm,” kindly funded by thyssenkrupp and launched at the 2018 CTBUH International Conference in Dubai.

The team, consisting of Dr. Peng Du, CTBUH Vice President of Academic Affairs and Director of the CTBUH China Office; Daniel Safarik, Communications Coordinator and Editor; and Zachary Zuspan, Research Assistant, visited Tencent Seafront Towers in Shenzhen; Raffles City Chongqing; Linked Hybrid in Beijing; and Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The aim of the research was to confirm and compare the physical experience of the skybridges in these projects, against the impressions the team already had developed through analysis of photos, renderings, and drawings.

At each project, the team received a warm welcome and informative tour from the owner-developer and/or design teams. At Tencent Seafront Towers, the headquarters of one of China’s leading software companies, the researchers toured the “Health Link,” the intermediate skybridge connecting the two office towers, which contains a running track, gym, coffee shop, ping-pong and billiards tables, and a full-size basketball court, all between 96 and 120 meters above ground.

In China’s fast-growing central-western city Chongqing, the Raffles City project was still under construction at the time of the visit. This proved beneficial in many ways, as the incredible engineering behind what is planned to become both the world’s longest and highest skybridge, the Conservatory, was on full display. Led by colleagues from Moshe Safdie Architects and CapitaLand, the team was able to view such technologies as dampers, where the skybridge connects with the roof of supporting towers beneath, a sliding gasket that allows the bridge and connecting towers to move independently as much as 500 mm in each direction, and a special elevator for hauling the full-sized trees up to the Conservatory. The trees weigh as much as 4 metric tons, and are delivered with root balls intact. The visitors were able to assess the project from every angle, including the catwalk atop the skybridge, and from a viewing point from across the Changjiang River, where the 8-tower complex dominates the skyline.

At Linked Hybrid, Beijing, the tour was kindly conducted by Modern Land, the project’s developer, taking the group through five of the project’s eight skybridges, with programs ranging from auditorium, to gymnasium with pool, to an art museum. The research visit on July 18 coincided with a half-day Skybridges Symposium, supported by Modern Land, thyssenkrupp and co-produced by CTBUH and AIA Shanghai / Beijing, featuring the architects, engineers and owner/developers of many significant horizontally-linked tower projects in China and elsewhere.

The final visit was to what is perhaps the world’s most recognizable skybridge, that which links the twin Petronas Towers at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) in Malaysia. Though it has been 15 years since the Petronas Towers were the world’s tallest buildings, the shine has never come off the structures, figuratively or literally. The impeccably maintained, chrome-clad towers are a brilliant sight on the “KL” skyline and are a ubiquitous national symbol of pride for Malaysia, as testified by the appearance of Petronas Towers-branded souvenirs virtually everywhere. Kindly hosted by CTBUH Fellow Hashimah Hashim, Executive Director of KLCC Projeks Sdn Bhd, the team was able to visit both levels of the skybridge on a day when it was closed to the public, and also accessed adjacent areas, such as the exclusive Malaysian Petroleum Club. The researchers also saw a comprehensive set of training videos for Petronas Towers’ operations and maintenance teams.