Workers erect pillars for the extension of the Xujiahui Skywalk.
The Xujiahui Skywalk is being extended to connect additional malls in one of Shanghai’s most popular shopping hubs to improve both the traffic and environment of the landmark region.
Construction has begun on the second phase of the skywalk project, stretching about 200 meters and linking the Orient Shopping Center and Grand Gateway 66, the Xuhui District government said on Monday.
The initial phase of the project, which opened in 2020, has become a popular attraction for shoppers to stroll around the shopping sites and for tourists to enjoy the scenery of the landmark Xujiahui area, named after the Ming Dynasty scientist and scholar Xu Guangqi (1562-1633).
The 400-meter initial phase of the Xujiahui Skywalk connects the renovated Xiya Hotel, now called the T20 building, Huilian Mall, and the once-popular digital markets Metro City and Pacific Digital City.
According to the long-term blueprint, the skywalk will be further extended to connect the Pacific Department Store and the under-construction Xujiahui Center, which will become the tallest building in Puxi upon its completion in 2023.
Connecting scattered commercial, cultural and entertainment venues, the project is part of a larger foray into the construction of skywalks in older downtown commercial complexes.
Workers welding on the extension of the Xujiahui Skywalk.
The Xujiahui commercial zone was established in 1992, one of eight in the city. Business boomed between 1999 and 2008, but sales have been falling since 2009 due to growth in the online shopping industry.
Local authorities then launched the skywalk project to integrate commercial resources. Shoppers once had to cross multiple busy roads to reach different malls.
The project also aims to create a “hanging garden,” featuring abundant plants and flowers, seating and shelter from the brutal summer sun and plum rains.
The new phase of the project chiefly includes two skywalks crossing above Caoxi Road N. and Hongqiao Road. An interior path in the Orient Shopping Center will also undergo renovation.
The first steel pillar of the extension was installed on October 4, while the main structure of the new skywalk, which was prefabricated in a nearby sports stadium to avoid pollution and noise, has been installed.
The deck of the new skywalk will cover about 2,200 square meters, with a drainage system, electric facilities and green space along with an elevator and stairway.
Workers weld for the extension of the Xujiahui Skywalk.
Ground traffic in the Xujiahui area, which has been listed as one of the city’s central activity districts, will be further streamlined with the new skywalk. It will help create an “urban commercial complex” in the Xujiahui area, according to the Xuhui government.
Designed by French architect Jacques Ferrier, who designed the popular France Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, the Xujiahui Skywalk is slated to be an example of “urban public artwork” with a practical function.
The skywalk is part of a major facelift of the Xujiahui commercial zone with its shopping and electronics malls as well as entertainment venues taking center stage.
The former three-star Xiya Hotel, built in 1995, has been redeveloped into the upmarket T20 complex. The renovated Metro City and Pacific Digital City have largely lost their computer and electronics retailers, replaced by fashionable brands, eateries, a theater and a bookstore.
The Grand Gateway 66 mall will also have a new look. The staircase in front of the mall has been replaced by an outdoor square for street performances.
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE
The initial phase of the Xujiahui Skywalk opened to the public in 2020.