Shanghai’s five-story building “walks” to a new location

Residents of Shanghai passing through the eastern part of Huangpu District in October may have come across the unusual sight of a “walking” building.

The 85-year-old elementary school was completely lifted and relocated from the ground using a new technology called a “walking machine.”

According to the project’s chief technology officer, Lan Wuji, in the city’s latest effort to preserve historic buildings, engineers have installed nearly 200 mobile supports underneath a five-story building.

The support acts like a robot leg. They are divided into two groups that alternate up and down to mimic human stride lengths. The included sensors help control the advancement of the building, said Lan, who developed a new technology for the company’s Shanghai Evolution Shift in 2018.

“It’s like giving crutches to a building so that you can walk after it stands up,” he said.

A time-lapse shot by the company shows how the school progresses little by little.

According to a statement from the Huangpu District Government, Lagena Elementary School was opened in 1935. The city hall of the former French Concession in Shanghai. Relocated to create space for a new commercial and office complex to be completed by 2023.

Workers had to first dig around the building and install 198 mobile supports in the space below, Lan explained. After the pillars of the building were truncated, the robot’s “legs” extended upwards, lifting the building and then moving forward.

In 18 days, the building turned 21 degrees and moved 62 meters (203 feet) away to a new location. The relocation will be completed on October 15th and the old school building will be the center of heritage conservation and cultural education.

According to a government statement, this project is the first time this “walking machine” method has been used to relocate historic buildings in Shanghai.

Decades of destruction

In recent decades, China’s rapid modernization has destroyed many historic buildings to clear land for shimmering skyscrapers and office buildings. However, there is growing concern about the architectural heritage lost as a result of demolition across the country.

Some cities have launched new preservation and preservation campaigns, including the use of advanced techniques that allow old buildings to be relocated rather than demolished.

Official indifference to historic buildings The rule of Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist the meantime During the tragic Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976, countless historic buildings and monuments were destroyed as part of the war against the “Four Olds” (old customs, cultures, customs, ideas).

The death of Mao Zedong in 1976 called for the re-emergence of architectural preservation, and before the Heritage Preservation Act was passed in the 1980s, the Chinese government gave many buildings protected status. Over the next few years, the building, neighborhood, and even the entire town, received state support to maintain its historic look.

Nevertheless, relentless urbanization continues to pose a significant threat to architectural heritage. The sale of land is also a major source of income for local governments. In short, buildings of architectural value are often sold to real estate developers where conservation is not a priority.

For example, in the capital Beijing, between 1990 and 2010, over 1,000 acres of historic alleys and traditional courtyard homes were destroyed. According to the state newspaper China Daily.
Early 2000s, Nanjing Beijing, prompted by critics protesting the loss of the old district, introduced protection to protect the building and limit developers, creating a long-term plan to preserve what was left in the historic site Did.
These conservation activities take many forms. In Beijing, a near-ruined temple turned into a restaurant and gallery, and in Nanjing, it became a movie theater in the 1930s. Restored Similar to its original shape, but with some additions equipped it for modern use. In 2019, Shanghai welcomed Tank Shanghai, an art center built on a refurbished oil tank.

“Relocation is not the first option, but it’s better than dismantling,” said Lan, project supervisor at Shanghai Elementary School. He said, “I don’t want to touch the historic buildings at all.”

He added that in order to relocate the monument, businesses and developers must pass strict regulations, including government approval at various levels.

But the building relocation he said is a “feasible option.” “The central government is putting more emphasis on the protection of historic buildings. It’s nice to see the progress in recent years.”

Moving monuments

Shanghai was arguably the most progressive city in China when it comes to heritage conservation. The survival of many of the famous 1930s buildings in the Bund district and the 19th-century “Stone Gate” house in the refurbished Shintenchi district shows examples of how to give new life to old buildings. Redevelopment has taken place.

Also in the city achievement Relocate an old building. Built in 2003 and 1930, the Shanghai Concert Hall has traveled more than 66 meters (217 feet) to give way to elevated roads. The Zhengguanghe Building, also a six-story warehouse from the 1930s, has moved 125 feet (38 meters) as part of the 2013 regional redevelopment.
Recently, the city in 2018 Relocated 90-year-old building In Hongkou District, where it was considered the most complex relocation project in Shanghai at the time, State News Agency Xinhua..

There are several ways to move a building. For example, you may slide down a set of rails or be pulled by a vehicle.

However, the Ragena Elementary School, which weighs 7,600 tonnes, poses a new challenge-it is T-shaped, although the previously relocated structure was square or rectangular. According to the Xinhua News Agency.. The irregular shape meant that the traditional method of pulling and sliding might not have worked, as it may not have withstood the lateral force applied to it, Said Lan.

An aerial photograph of the Shanghai Lagena Elementary School building. credit: Shanghai Evolution Shift Project

Also, instead of rotating the building and moving in a straight line, it had to follow a curved route to relocate. This is another challenge that requires a new method.

“No other company can move structures in curves while working in this area for 23 years,” he added.

Xinhua gathered experts and technicians to discuss the possibilities and test various techniques before deciding on a “walking machine”.

Lan told CNN that the exact cost of the project could not be shared and the transfer costs would vary on a case-by-case basis.

“No matter what, you have to preserve the historic building, so you can’t use it as a reference,” he said. “But it’s generally cheaper than demolishing something in a new location and then rebuilding it.”

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