It seems as though China can’t get enough of glass. On May 1, the world’s largest glass-bottomed observation platform opened 1,300 feet above the Jingdong Stone Forest Gorge in the Pinggu District near Beijing. The platform is nearly 4,500 feet square and hangs 107 feet beyond the edge of a cliff in the gorge.
Home of glass platform already draws tourists
The Jingdong Stone Forest Gorge is already a popular tourist attraction and offers scenic views of colossal natural stone formations. The viewing platform is made primarily from glass and titanium. According to the curators of the site, this is the first time that lightweight titanium – typically used in the manufacturing of aircraft – has been used in the construction of a building.
The platform can also claim to be the “longest” glass observation deck in the world. Although it is circular in shape, the platform extends 107 feet beyond the wall of the cliff – a full 37 feet longer than the glass observation deck in use at the Grand Canyon.
Panels of glass that are about 5 feet high surround the open-air Jingdong platform, and visitors have been seen walking, exercising, sitting and lying down on the glass. While some tourists enjoy the daredevil nature of navigating the attraction, others find it virtually impossible to walk so high above the gorge.
Last year, tourists at the Yuntai Mountain Scenic Park were horrified to see a crack emerge in the 1,300 foot long glass walkway there. That walkway is 3,500 feet off the ground, and was closed immediately after the incident for repairs. One of the glass panels in the walkway was damaged when a sharp object fell on the panel and damaged it. No one was injured in the incident.
Other glass platforms and observation decks have been damaged similarly, including the one at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago. In 2014, the Willis Tower observation deck, which is an open-air surface suspended 103 stories above ground and offers a 360° view of the city, cracked while tourists were standing on it. The visitors were never in any danger; the Willis Tower observation deck is built to withstand 10,000 pounds of pressure without buckling.
In the next post, we’ll look at China’s newest glass suspension bridge, which is expected to open in July. In the mean time, if you’re looking for some glass inspiration, please check out the rest of our site. If you’d like to purchase Glassprimer™ glass paint, please visit our online store .
Photo Credit: Rene Passet, via Flickr.com