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