5-Story Building in Shanghai ‘Walks’ to a New Location

China’s new method of moving historical buildings has an 85-year-old Shanghai building “walking” down the street to its new location. Lagena Primary School has been relocated using new engineering technology and a device called the “walking machine”.

What We Know:

  • According to the Huangpu district government, Lagena Primary School was built in 1935 by Shanghai’s former French Concession. The building is 5 stories high and weighs over 7,000 tons.
  • Shanghai is known to move old buildings to make way for new infrastructure. However, the Lagena Primary School was particularly challenging to move because of it’s “T” shape structure and curved destination route. This prompted engineers to use mechanical legs as a means of transportation.
  • The relocation was made possible by a company called Shanghai Evolution Shift, who suggested placing 198 mechanical legs underneath the building. The legs are meant to mimic human motion, lifting up and stepping forward. The building “walked” a total of 203 feet to its new destination.
  • The purpose of the relocation is an effort to preserve China’s historical architecture. Project officials argued that it is cheaper to relocate and renovate old buildings than it is to demolish and rebuild. The primary school is set to be renovated to become a heritage protection and cultural educational center by 2023.

When asked about the project, Shanghai Evolution Shift owner Lan said, “During my 23 years of working in this area, I haven’t seen any other company that can move structures in a curve.”