Residents of China’s financial capital, Shanghai, recently had an unusual experience. Passers-by on the streets of the country’s eastern financial hub saw a century-old building “walking”, but not literally.
The 3,800 ton building was lifted entirely off the ground and moved using technology, dubbed the “walking machine”. The building was moved back to its original location on July 8, as part of a renovation project.
It was one of the largest and heaviest structures transported into the city, that too, in one piece. “Centennial 3,800-ton building ‘walks’ slowly in Shanghai,” tweeted Zhang Meifan, China’s consul general in Belfast.
However, this is not the first time that Shanghai has witnessed this kind of magic.
In 2020, Shanghai had moved another building using the same “walking” technology when an 85-year-old five-story primary school building in the city’s east Huangpu district was moved.
The supports act as robotic legs. They are divided into two groups that move up and down alternately, mimicking the human stride. Attached sensors help control how the building moves forward, Lan Wuji, the project’s chief technical supervisor had told CNN.
“It’s like giving crutches to the building so it can stand up and then walk,” he said.
The move is part of Shanghai’s efforts to preserve historic structures. China’s rapid modernization with gleaming skyscrapers, especially in cities like Shanghai, has caused a huge disappearance of old architectural structures.