Oct. 30 (UPI) — A five-story building in Shanghai went “walking” through a city street using a new technology developed to help move large structures as part of efforts to preserve the city’s historic structures.
The 85-year-old Lagena Primary School in Huangpu district was lifted off the ground and relocated using a newly developed “walking machine,” which is composed of nearly 200 mobile supports developed by company Shanghai Evolution Shift.
Lan Wuji, chief technical supervisor of the project for Shanghai Evolution Shift, said the supports act as robotic legs that emulate the way human legs move.
“It’s like giving the building crutches so it can stand up and then walk,” Lan told CNN.
The building was moved to make way for a commercial and office complex due to be completed in 2023.
Lan said moving the 7,600-ton structure posed a number of unique challenges that were different from standard building relocation efforts that would use rails or vehicles.
Previous building relocation efforts in the city involved structures that were square or rectangular, but the school’s irregular T-shape meant the usual methods of pulling or sliding a building may have put too much strain on the structure.
Lan said the move was also unique because the building had to be moved 203 feet in a curved direction, instead of a straight line.
“During my 23 years of working in this area, I haven’t seen any other company that can move structures in a curve,” he said.