AN EXTRAORDINARY hotel is being built in a disused quarry near Shanghai. At the foot of the Tianmashan mountain, the InterContinental Shimao Wonderland will rise two floors above the top of the 100-metre rock face and another 16 storeys below ground level. The lowest of these levels, housing a restaurant, will actually be under water at the bottom of the quarry.
The architectural plans are futuristic, yet the 380-room hotel is expected to open by late 2014 or early 2015. Given how much work there is to do—CNN has an image of what the site currently looks like—those projections do seem rather bullish. But weve already seen how much hotel the Chinese can build in 15 days, so 2.5 years for this fantastical construction might suffice.
The design was the award-winning work of Atkins, a British firm of architects. Martin Jochman, the leader, has described the thinking behind it:
We drew our inspiration from the quarry setting itself, adopting the image of a green hill cascading down the natural rock face as a series of terraced landscaped hanging gardens. In the centre, we have created a transparent glass 'waterfall' from a central vertical circulation atrium connecting the quarry base with the ground level. This replicates the natural waterfalls on the existing quarry face.
No word there on what winds are supposed to fill the boats (see image), but I wouldn't be surprised to find provision for a warm southerly breeze included in the engineering specifications.
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