Photos of a five-storey building in the Chinese city of Chongqing have been going viral on social media, for the simple fact that the building in question has a flat roof that also doubles as a road that cars actually drive on.
Before we go into details about this particular architectural oddity, it’s worth mentioning that Chongqing has a reputation for unusual architecture and infrastructure. Its terrain is mainly made up of hill slopes, and this lack of flat building space has basically forced architects and urban planners to think outside the box in order to come up with feasible solutions. Some of their most famous creations include a sprawling road interchange with 15 ramps going in eight different directions, 13-storey-high pedestrian bridges and the world-famous apartment building that has a train passing straight through it.
The newest addition to Chongqing’s portfolio of quirky architecture is a five-storey building with a terraced roof that doubles as a single-lane public road. Photos of the unusual sight were first posted on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, last Wednesday, and quickly went viral, with many netizens joking that such a thing could only be built in China. They are probably right about that, but a subsequent journalistic investigation revealed that the roof road actually has a very practical explanation.
The Beijing Youth Daily newspaper visited the unique building and talked to the security guards there, who said that the road was created to help residents reach their homes easier. The five-storey building is built on the side of a hill and is actually the indoor parking of an apartment complex higher up the side of the hill. Without the road, residents would have to take an elevator or walk up from street level, at the base of the hill all the way up to the apartment building. This way, they can drive their cars all the way to the residential building and leave their cars parked there.
And, while the windows may fool you into thinking that there are people living in this five-storey building, it turns out that its four upper levels make up an indoor parking, while the ground level is taken up by various shops. Plus, the roof is fitted with noise reduction materials, so hardly any the sounds of the cars driving on it get through.