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Housing Project

This Is How China Was Able to Build the World’s First Subterranean Hotel

The quarry was one of a handful in the Songjiang suburb of Shanghai that operated through the 1950s but has been abandoned ever since.

“The site was really a scar on the surface of the earth,” said Martin Jochman of JADE+QA architects at a press conference.

“We showed how to take a difficult and unusual site that nobody knew what to do with and make it useful again, revitalizing it with a new life.” Jochman and his firm designed the $300 million project, which is InterContinental Hotels Group’s 200th property globally.

“Originally we were given absolutely no limitations on how to approach the design. The brief was really about producing a resort which used the quarry as best as it could,” said Jochman. “

The inspiration for all this was the natural environment itself. It was the quarry, the cliffs, the green hills around it, the lake—despite it being an industrial site surrounded by industrial buildings, it was very pretty.”

He decided to distill these natural elements into the basis of his design: The cliff became the body of the hotel, where the guest rooms are located, the water became the faux waterfall down the center of the building that houses the elevators, and the hills are represented by the green roof of the structure, which was designed not only to blend into the landscape but also to provide energy-efficient temperature regulation.

“Sustainability was an important part of the whole design process—using passive sustainability that was built into the building by design,” noted Jochman, who worked within the microclimate of the quarry to maximize efficiency.

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The location of the hotel within the site, for instance, was chosen to provide the most sunlight, not only for guest rooms but also for the hotel’s solar panels.

The hotel also uses the natural air shaft between its structure and the cliff wall for insulation in the winter and cooling in the summer.

While the architect was given no design restrictions from hotel owner Shimao Group, Mother Nature had other plans in mind.

The engineering team had to face a number of challenges presented with a subterranean project: When concrete was sent down into the quarry via standard construction chutes, for instance, the materials separated and were unusable.

The team ended up patenting more 41 different engineering methods over the course of the build. As a result, it took more than 12 years for the hotel to be constructed, with its doors officially opening in November 2018.

While the hotel is now open to guests, new features, like a rock-climbing wall on the face of the quarry and a zip line over the lake, will be added in the months to come.

There’s a nightly light and water show projected onto the fountains in the lake that rivals anything you would see in Las Vegas.

“This building has become a landmark,” said Jochman. “Yet the landmark here is not something that sticks out, but something that fits in.”

Source: architectural digest

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