Shimao Wonderland, a stunning Chinese earth scraper, grows not up, but down

At the end of last year in Songjiang, near Shanghai, a unique architectural structure was opened for visitors. The Shimao Wonderland hotel complex is built inside a former quarry and is a multi-storey building that does not rise above the ground, but descends under it. The hotel has its own aqua system, a man-made waterfall and its own microclimate, which practically does not require energy to maintain.

The gigantic structure is located on the slope of a quarry 88 m high, it has 18 floors, 16 underground and 2 underwater, with a total area of ​​62, 171 sq. M. The most difficult part was to build the foundation, which is a substructure and combines the properties of a foundation, an aquarium and a seismic protection system. The builders recall how inconvenient it was to pump concrete to a depth of 90 m, since its components were separated under their own weight. It took a lot of tricks to pour 60, 000 cubic meters of concrete, forming a strong and heavy structure with numerous cavities for rooms and communications.

The building frame is made of steel beams, assembled in the shape of the letter "L". The lower part is rigidly integrated into the concrete base, the upper horizontal part slides almost freely along the special beams on the quarry wall. This is necessary to protect against vibrations during an earthquake, and the builders note that the structure is unique, it was created outside the building codes and therefore required a separate complex examination. Even if the walls of the quarry partially collapse, the building must survive.

The huge reservoir at the bottom of the quarry was created not only for the visitors of the underwater restaurant to admire fish and algae. It serves as a giant heat exchanger for climate control, making it easy for a hotel to maintain the same temperature all year round without spending too much energy. An artificial waterfall and numerous solar collectors serve this purpose, into which rooms with panoramic glazing on the outside of the building have been turned.