Shanghai’s Five Story Walking Building

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Sophie Lyons, Writer

The Shanghai Evolution Shift (TSES) in Shanghai, China invented a way to move buildings up to 5 stories high on October 9, 2020 to different places around cities so they can make way for other construction projects without demolishing the old building. China has moved many buildings before but this Shanghai school was a special case.

The 85 year old primary school is in a T shape. TSES has only moved square or rectangular buildings so they worried how the building would hold up if they used a crane to pick it up. Then, came an idea. If they could just take it off the ground and put robot legs so it can “walk” to the new spot, it just might work! It was a crazy idea, but definitely worth a shot. Lan is the founder of the company. He explains, “The supports act like robotic legs. They’re split into two groups which alternately rise up and down, imitating the human stride. Attached sensors help control how the building moves forward,”.

According to the Huangpu district government, the primary school was constructed in 1935 by the municipal board of Shanghai’s former French Concession. It was moved in order to make space for a new commercial and office complex, which will be completed by 2023. After only 18 days TSES moved the building 21 degrees and 62 meters (203 feet)!

The Shanghai Evolution Shift is a company that cares for China’s old buildings but also for progress. Perhaps this has inspired others that there is always a way to save the old and cherish the new!