US$288 million Shanghai hotel is the world’s deepest – just two of its 18 floors are aboveground

Mandy Zuo
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US$288 million Shanghai hotel is the world’s deepest – just two of its 18 floors are aboveground

Two years after claiming the title of “home to the world’s second-tallest building”, Shanghai has added to its list of architectural achievements with the launch of the world’s deepest hotel.

Rising 88 metres (290 feet) from the floor of an abandoned quarry, the 18-storey InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland Hotel in the city’s Songjiang district has been in development for 12 years and cost 2 billion yuan (US$287.9 million) to complete.

Of its 18 floors, just two are aboveground while its two lowest are completely submerged by a lake that occupies the remainder of the vast quarry pit.

Xu Shitan, deputy chairman of the project’s developer Shimao Group, was among the speakers at the building’s official launch on Thursday.

“It used to be an abandoned quarry, and now we have turned it into a treasure,” he said.

Located in Sheshan, about 30km (19 miles) from Hongqiao International Airport, the new hotel has 336 guest rooms and suites priced from 3,400 yuan to 3,800 yuan per night. They will be available to book from Tuesday, according to IHG’s website, which manages the property.

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Shimao Group chairman Xu Rongmao said he first came across the abandoned quarry in 2006. He described what he saw at the time as a “wound of nature that was inconsistent with the green hills and blue water of Sheshan” and came up with the idea to build the unusual property.

While construction got under way in August 2009, such were the technical challenges faced by the design and construction teams that the project initially made slow progress and was reported to have been aborted on several occasions. The pilings for the foundations alone took two years to complete.

Despite the difficulties, Chen Shaowei, assistant president of the group’s Jiangsu and Shanghai branch, is delighted with the result.

“It is something that defies our existing knowledge about construction,” he said. “We solved over 60 technical problems.”

In terms of safety precautions, the hotel’s owners claim it is able to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake, and said the design incorporates two fireman’s lifts if needed for fighting fires, and six pumping machines should the huge pit flood during Shanghai’s notoriously wet rainy season.

Martin Jochman, the project’s chief architect, who also designed the Burj Al Arab, a luxury hotel in Dubai, said the new property was designed to blend in with its natural surroundings.

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Not everything in the area is natural, however. Alongside the hotel, at ground level, is a garish amusement park, while the lake below will be used for watersports and other adventure activities.

Xu Shitan said the company was also planning to build a shopping centre on the site next year.

Shanghai claimed the “home to the world’s second-tallest building” title in 2016 with the opening of Shanghai Tower, a 632-metre, 128-storey skyscraper in the city’s financial district.

This article US$288 million Shanghai hotel is the world’s deepest – just two of its 18 floors are aboveground first appeared on South China Morning Post

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