Creating massive infrastructural projects anywhere is a tough ask, but it is even tougher when you have to do it in an already jam-packed city. This was the case in Chongqing, which is one of the most populated and highly constructed cities in China. With the Daba, Wushan, Wuling, and Dalou Mountains to its north, east and south, Chongqing is a hilly area that is known as the mountain city due to its densely packed population of around 49 million people, meaning the constructors very little working areas to build on. Architects and city planners were given the task of building an overhead monorail line in the city, but besides many other challenges, they had a 19-floor apartment building standing their way.
The apparent two options were either to change the train’s route or to bring down the building. But breaking all expectations, in 2004 the Rail Transit No.2 was approved amazingly to pass through the two floors of the building! And 13 years later, the planners are still convinced that it was the best option.
“Our city is very heavily built upon and that can make finding room for roads and railway lines a real challenge,” a Chongqing Rail Transit Group spokesperson said in 2014.
“Sometimes there just isn’t room on the ground so we have to think about going under, or over, or – in this case – straight through. In a city as fast paced as this it was clear people wanted to get around quickly. Extending the railway line this way was a gamble, but it was one that paid off.”
Adding to the weird and peculiar setting is the fact that there is even a passenger station set up on the 7th and 8th floors, meaning the residents of the building can literally walk out the front door and jump on the train. This has increased the value of the building by several folds due to the incredibly easy access to public transportation.
The building is fitted with noise reduction equipment and the residents say that the rumble of the light monorail is no more than a dishwasher.
Impressive stuff! Watching the success of the peculiar concept makes one wonder why doesn’t every building has a train station!