Golden Cross Sky Ring
The Golden Cross Sky Ring was designed to create a new urban gateway through one of Beijing’s busiest intersections, as well as form a new vision for the CBD district. The Sky Ring design is further proposed as the prototypical pedestrian link at the four major intersections in downtown Beijing.
Beijing continues expanding its massive urban structure through a system of wide-ring roads. Although there has been attempts to improve the quality of the streetscape, traffic is still a major problem because eof the continued increase in the amount 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. It has become obvious that pedestrian safety and comfort should be improved.
The Golden Cross, which can be found at the intersection of the East Third Ring Road and ChangAn Ave (also the city’s eastwest central axis) is famously known as the gateway to Beijing CBD area. Much of the busy intersection is occupied with luxury mixed-use developments that include offices, hotels, and residences. It is considered an important destination for business, shopping and viewing the streetscape of famous ChangAn Ave.
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 proposed Sky Ring will act as a pedestrian link that will allow circulation over the Golden Cross intersection as well as connect buildings above the street level. The Sky Ring will also open to street level and will connect to the subway through four vertical cores that will cooridinate with existing subway exits.
Beyond the basic circulation functions, the form was inspired by the Chinese culture’s respect of integrated universal forces and the admiration to the sun light halo. The Sky Ring is visioned as an urban space with relaxing gardens, a variety of retail stores and observation decks 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.