The Walking Building: Chinese Building Walks To A New Home


At this point in 2020, we have to learn to accept and see the most unpredictable things. You must have seen walking buildings, right? I mean in your dreams, of course. You couldn’t possibly think that a building would literally walk and relocate itself. Well, you are wrong. Amid China’s growing concern of losing the historic places due to modernisation, a company came forward to move an 85-year-old school, a 5-storey building, by relocating it to another place so they would not have to demolish it.

The Walking Building: Chinese Building Walks To A New Home

China has always been one of the most innovative producers when it comes to machines, architecture, and DIYs. Living up to this persona they have now mastered the art of moving buildings!

Shanghai’s eastern Huangpu district sure made its residents stop and stare at the sight laid before their eyes. There was a moving building right there in their vicinity. The building that was moved was the 85-year-old primary school that had been literally lifted off the ground and relocated with the great help of the new technology known as the “walking machine”. This technology is an effort and a step towards protecting and preserving the historic structures of the country. 

198 mobile supporters were attached under the 5 storey building that weighed 7600 tonnes. Usually, buildings are moved by using the help of side rails or flatbeds, but these mobile supporters seem easier to use. They work like robotic legs which then split into two groups, alternately rising up and down, imitating the human walk. The sensors that are attached to the mobile supporters help them control and know which step to take next. 

Wuji Company Shanghai Evolution Shift developed this wonderful technology in 2018. They said that the idea and the process were as if they were giving the building crutches so it could stand up and walk. Initially, they were planning on executing this magnanimous project by digging around the building to install the 198 mobile supporters in the space underneath. The plan was to shorten the pillars and to quickly place the mobile supporters underneath them. The robotic legs would lift the building upwards and then forward. With the main part of the process done safely, it took them only 18 days to move the building, rotate it 21 degrees and move 203 feet away to its new location. This process was finally completed on October 15th, 2020. Although, they did admit that the irregular T shape of the school made it technically very difficult at one point to move because it seemed to be a huge task to get those mobile supporters under the building.

The place that had been cleared by the school was now going to be a space for a new commercial and office complex. And according to sources, it will be finished within 3 years. The old school i.e. the Lagena Primary School will now become the centre for heritage protection and cultural education in the city. 

Leave it to China to serve us the most amazing technology on an outstanding platter. The time-lapse videos of this very building moving are spread across the entire social media platforms like wildfire. It is amazing and shocking to know how far technology has come and this is probably just a start for China. The innovative machines they have come up with really makes one wonder what else might they be good at. 

These machines can for sure help the world in so many ways. It will not only save the cost and time to demolish a large building but also save and protect its heritage. To top that off, it seems as though it does not take a lot of days as anyone would think it would. The process is fast when done with the right amount of people in the right amount of time. 

I, for one, was not expecting a moving building in 2020. A chopper inside a house? Sure. A talking cat? Sure, I could handle it. But the way technology is moving further! It never ceases to amaze me. To say that the residents living around the district were bewildered would be an understatement. Imagine yourself walking down the street at 7 am wearing nothing but a pair of a pyjama suit with your eyes half-closed because you did not have proper sleep since watching Netflix was way more important than going to school, and you suddenly see a building moving. It would have slapped the sleepiness right out of me. 

It is safe to say that technology will never stop amusing us in various ways possible. It is up to us how we want to change the future of machines and architecture and quite frankly, right now China is doing a very good job at it. Also read: Robots Smaller Than The Cross Section Of A Single Human Hair: What For?


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