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WATCH: An 85 Year Old Building in China ‘Walks’ to Its New Location

Walking its way into history.

Credit: South China Morning Post/ YouTube

Whether you’re freaked out, or simply jealous that this building is currently allowed to travel further than you can, there is no denying that this five-story building’s relocation is pretty fascinating.

This 85-year-old primary school building in Shanghai’s Eastern Huangpu District was lifted, then relocated, using technology dubbed as “the walking machine.” 

Credit: South China Morning Post/ YouTube

China has often been pioneering in technology, so, in its latest effort to preserve local, historical structures, 200 mobile supports were attached to the building to help it move. The supports were essentially acting as the robotic legs of the building. Usually, buildings of this size are relocated using giant rail slides and flatbeds, but the irregular shape posed an engineering challenge. Chief technical supervisor of the project, Lan Wuji, who is head of Shanghai Evolution Shift, said the ‘legs’ are split into two groups which alternatively rise up and down, imitating a human stride. Attached sensors help control how the building moves forward.

The Lagena Primary School was constructed in 1935 and is being moved to clear space for an office complex and commercial centre, due to be completed by 2023. 

After 18 days and 198 mobile supports, the 7,600-tonne building arrived at its new location, 203 feet away. Its new location is set to become a center for heritage protection and cultural education. 

Credit: South China Morning Post/ YouTube

This is a dramatic turn from China’s extensive modernisation, which has seen the destruction of many historic buildings, only to be replaced with towering skyscrapers. Therefore, this shift towards historical preservation and architectural heritage is welcomed by many in China.

Wondering what something like this costs? The fee has not been disclosed. Lan said, it could differ case by case, but in general, it’s cheaper than demolishing and then rebuilding something in a new location.”

Keen to see what else China is up to? Check this out.

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