Ever See a Building Walk Before? Here's Your Chance

Historic 85-year-old school moved to new site via 200 robotic 'legs' in Shanghai
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2020 8:38 AM CDT

It took nearly three weeks, but the Lagena Primary School in Shanghai has been relocated to its new home. If you happened to have been in the Huangpu district earlier this month, you would've seen exactly how it was moved 200 feet to its new space, and you probably would've done a double take, because it looked like the building was walking there itself. A CCTV video shared by the South China Morning Post explains that a building like this 85-year-old structure, which had to make way for a new commercial complex, would usually be shifted by using flatbeds or a slide-rail system. But this particular building's T-shape, as well as the 21-degree rotation it needed to make, made those options infeasible. Instead, 198 mobile supports were placed under the 7,600-ton building and made to function like robotic "legs."

"It's like giving the building crutches so it can stand up and then walk," Lan Wuji, the head technical supervisor for the Shanghai Evolution Shift project, tells CNN, which reports it was the first time a historical building in the city was moved using this method. The site notes that some Chinese cities have recently been putting forth more effort to preserve architectural heritage as modernization sweeps across the country. The move took a total of 18 days and was completed on Oct. 15; the cost hasn't been disclosed. Now that the five-story building is in its new home, it also has a new purpose. Via WION, Reuters notes that the structure first built as a primary school in 1935 had been repurposed into a middle school, which it served as until 2018. Now it will be revamped once again, this time to become a cultural education and heritage center. (More strange stuff stories.)

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