Eco-hotel constructed in 88-meter-deep rock quarry opens in Shanghai

By Du Qiongfang Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/18 18:53:39

Into the abyss

A view of the new Shimao Quarry Hotel of Shanghai Photo: Courtesty of Shimao Quarry Hotel

After 12 years of design and construction, the world's lowest-altitude hotel, the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland - also known as Shimao Quarry Hotel - made its long-awaited public debut on November 15.

Located in an 88-meter-deep abandoned quarry near Sheshan Hill in Songjiang district of Shanghai, the hotel boasts cliff-view rooms that allow guests to literally stare into the abyss.

The old quarry was considered a blight on modern Shanghai's urban look until it was converted into a chic five-star hotel.

"So the project is more like an environmental project, which turned an abandoned quarry into treasure," Xu Shitan, vice chairman of Shimao Group, the property developer the hotel, announced during the hotel's debut.

Sustainable development

Xu Rongmao, chairman of the board of the cooperation, is credited for finding the abandoned quarry in 2006. Seeing the quarry surrounded by green landscape, he thought up the idea to make the best use of the disused abyss.

Michael Croft, representative from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) described the Shimao Quarry Hotel as a model for sustainable development. "It's a model that has been inspired by a vision of a better future, and a present that looks to its past for answers," he said at the press conference on November 15.

However, the design and construction of the hotel, built vertically along the precipice of an underground water-filled quarry, was not an easy job.

"The construction of the hotel is also a scientific and technical project with 64 original technical challenges obtaining 41 patents," Xu Shitan addressed.

For example, while fire-escape facilities in all other hotels lead downward, the quarry hotel's are upward. Without a precedent that could be referred to, many plans during the construction had to be carefully researched, which added much more difficulty to the construction.

My life's work

The 336-room hotel, occupying a total area of 61,087 square meters, was designed by architect Martin Jochman and has 18 floors, including two underwater and two above ground.

It also has a restaurant and sports and recreation facilities. The hotel is opposite a 80-meter waterfall which is one of the hotel's most eye-catching features.

"I designed many different types of buildings in the UK, Europe, Dubai, but this one was totally different and became almost life work, so that's why I'm saying it's probably the most important building that I have designed," said Jochman, who is known for the iconic sail-shaped Burj Al Arab skyscraper in Dubai.

According to Jochman, the quarry hotel "grows with nature" rather than just being a bionic building of steel and concrete. During its construction, more than 200 wild trees near the site were preserved.

The original 300-step quarry path was also repaired. National Geographic magazine has been making an ongoing documentary about the project since it launched in 2007. The hotel is being reputed as a "world architectural wonder."

The hotel will be open to the public on Tuesday. The rooms are priced starting at about 2,000 yuan ($288.32) per night. The most anticipated of the entire hotel are the underwater suites, which have an aquarium where guests can see rare marine animals such as sharks.

In addition, the stone pillars at the bottom of the quarry will be displayed in the walkway and elevator hall, so that guests can experience the feeling of walking inside a pit mine.

Posted in: PULSE

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