Raffles City Chongqing

Chongqing, China, 2020 / Asia / Housing & Residential Office & Mixed Use Transportation Urban Design & Planning

Projects of scale and density can easily be overbearing and imposing, impenetrable and seeming to turn their back on the cities of which they are a part. Raffles City Chongqing, although vertically organized into a series of towers, strives to connect to the city's existing network of streets and systems. It also transforms the site podium into a network of public and open spaces. Additionally, a sky conservatory, which bridges between four towers, draws the active public life high up into the project.

This historic site in Chongqing is located at the center of the city, in the heart of a densely developed existing city infrastructure. We carefully studied and incorporated the city street organization, engaging the historic shopping streets and using their organization to help arrange and bring order to the complex programming of the project.

Filling the site is a podium building of six above-grade stories, which houses some 220,000 sq m of retail space, as well as subway, bus, and ferry terminals. Over the podium, a public park and private residential gardens are created, with direct access from the city on the southern end of the site. Atop the podium, eight towers rise up, with six of southern towers reaching 250 m and the two northern towers topping out at 350 m. The towers are a mix of uses, comprised of residences, high end luxury residences, offices, service apartments, and hotel programs.

Diverse program elements are distributed across eight slender towers, soaring above a retail podium. The entire podium is a landscaped platform, offering a respite for city residents, and excellent connectivity. The multi-level podium provides a new multi-modal transit hub for the city, linking directly to metro, bus, and ferry terminals.

Spanning across four accessible towers, at a length of 300 meters, the Crystal also connects to two of the development’s taller towers via linking bridges. Considered a ‘horizontal skyscraper,’ the Crystal houses 15,000 sq.m. of facilities including gardens, numerous dining options, bar and event space, a residential clubhouse, infinity pool, and hotel lobby. A public observatory offers visitors unobstructed views of the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers through a glass-bottom, open-air viewing deck.

Enclosed by a glass and steel structure termed a concertina—a serrated profile with an elliptical cross section—The Crystal offers visitors access to natural light, extensive views, and garden settings throughout the year.


Located in a pivotal part of Chongqing, this landmark development evokes the progress of one of China’s most important modern cities.