The Lagena Primary School in Shanghai was built in 1935. But the 5-story building had to be moved about 203 feet and rotated 21 degrees from its original location in order to make room for a new commercial/office complex. So they dug around the base and installed 198 "mobile supports" underneath to carry it to its new location over the course of 18 days:
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The supports act like robotic legs. They're split into two groups which alternately rise up and down, imitating the human stride. Attached sensors help control how the building moves forward, said Lan, whose company Shanghai Evolution Shift developed the new technology in 2018."It's like giving the building crutches so it can stand up and then walk," he said.
This is the first time this particular "walking" method has been used for historical preservation. But Shanghai does have a history, of well, historical preservation.
Shanghai has arguably been China's most progressive city when it comes to heritage preservation. The survival of a number of 1930s buildings in the famous Bund district and 19th-century "shikumen" (or "stone gate") houses in the renovated Xintiandi neighborhood have offered examples of how to give old buildings new life, despite some criticism about how the redevelopments were carried out.
The city also has a track record of relocating old buildings. In 2003, the Shanghai Concert Hall, built in 1930, was moved over 66 metes (217 feet) to make way for an elevated highway. The Zhengguanghe Building — a six-story warehouse, also from the 1930s — was then shifted 125 feet (38 meters) as part of a local redevelopment in 2013.
More recently, in 2018, the city relocated a 90-year-old building in Hongkou district, in what was then considered to be Shanghai's most complex relocation project to date, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.
A 5-story building in Shanghai 'walks' to a new location [Jessie Yeung and Serenitie Wang / CNN]