Shanghai 5-story Building Relocated by 'Walking'

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November 8, 2020

Engineers in Shanghai have enabled a five-story building to walk across town.

China walking schoolThe 7,600-ton building, a primary school that is 85 years old, "walked" 203 feet on 198 mobile supports as part of its relocation, part of a plan to preserve historic structures in the Chinese city while also making way for new construction. The supports, developed by a company called Evolution Shift, work in pairs and rise up and down, mimicking the mobility used by bipeds and others who walk to go from place to place. The company had used the technology before; however, the school presented new wrinkles: they had to rotate the building 21 degrees first because it is T-shaped, not rectangular or square, as had been the handful of buildings that the company had previously moved.

See time-elapse video

It took 18 days for the Lagena Primary School to reach its new destination; it is no longer a school and will soon function as a cultural education center. In its old home will grow an office complex, to be completed in three years.

Shanghai is known for its preservation of heritage buildings, particularly by relocation. The city moved its 1930 concert hall 217 feet in 2003 in order to make room for new roads and also moved a giant warehouse 125 feet in 2013.

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