Usually, when a new development is going to go into a spot where a building already exists, that existing building gets blown into smithereens and its remaining rubble hauled away. BUT, there is apparently a different way to handle the situation now, which is by politely asking the building to walk away and to find a new home – well, kind of.
An 85-year old primary school in Shanghai, China was recently relocated 200 feet away and rotated 21 degrees to make way for a new development on its current home. By attaching 198 mobile supports under the support structure of the 5-story, 7,600 ton school, the building is able to “walk” to its new location.
While there are other ways to move a building, like a rail system or trucks, the building’s unique “T” shape created new challenges that had to be solved using the robotic leg supports. CNN reports that the legs have sensors attached to help control how the build moves. The technology was created by a company called Shanghai Evolution Shift in 2018 and was the school relocation was first time it was used in Shanghai.
Completed on October 15, the entire relocation process took 18 days, a pace of roughly 11 feet per day. The old school building will be turned into a center for heritage protection and cultural education.
Lan Wuji, the chief technical supervisor of the project, told CNN that, while he couldn’t share direct costs of the project, the method is generally cheaper than demolition and building a new structure.
To check out the robotic legs in action, you can watch the video below from the South China Morning Post. Special shout out to my good buddy, Rob, from Belts and Boxes for giving me a heads up about this.