Century-old garden villa shift Shanghai's 'most complicated'

A century-old garden villa completed its relocation on Friday after being shifted, turned around and lifted in what is said to be the city's most complicated building-shift case.
Ti Gong

The three-story brick and wood garden villa at 84 Hainan Road in Hongkou District stands on its new site on Friday after a complicated relocation project that took a month and a half.

A century-old garden villa located downtown completed its relocation on Friday after being shifted, turned around and lifted in what is said to be the city's most complicated building-shift case.

The German gallery-type structure at 84 Hainan Road in Hongkou District served as the office building of the district government. The relocation project started over a month ago to protect the historical structure from being damaged during a development project on the site.

The three-story brick and wood structure features a sloping roof, red bricks and delicate curving ornaments among its architectural values, according to the Shanghai Construction No. 1 Group, who took charge of the relocation project.

The building was first shifted towards the southwest by 18 meters and then turned around nearly 90 degrees. It was then moved to the southwest by 7 meters and lifted up by 0.5 meters, before being moved even further southwest by 21.45 meters and then southeast by 6.872 meters.

"The zigzag moving route was designed according to the rectangle shape of the building to protect it from being damaged," said Shen Wei, project manager with the group.

It reached its new site on Friday morning after being moved the last three meters of its long journey.

Ti Gong

Engineers fixed the building to a platform and paved rails beneath for the relocation project on Hainan Road in Hongkou District.

Ti Gong

The three-story brick and wood structure features a sloping roof, red bricks and delicate curving ornaments.

The building covers 700 square meters, smaller than the Jade Buddha Temple and Shanghai Concert Hall, the two most eye-catching building shift projects in the city. But this move features the most complicated and challenging route, Shen said.

The "turning around" became the most difficult part of the project, because it required cutting-edge skills to balance the forces exerted, otherwise the structure would have been damaged, he said.

Before the project started, engineers fixed the building to a platform and paved rails beneath it. A newly developed automatic program was applied to control several jacks while pushing the building forward, Shen said.

The cutting-edge program greatly reduced the schedule by nearly 10 times. It can be applied to future building shift projects too, he added.

After being moved to the new site, a four-story basement will be built beneath the building and a preservation project to repair and restore its original look will be conducted.

More than 10 buildings in the city have been shifted to new sites as a way of protection under Shanghai's rapid urban development.

Last year, the Mahavira Hall of Jade Buddha Temple, built around 1918, was shifted 30.66 meters to the north along with the three huge Buddhist statues and other cultural heritage inside the hall.

In 2016, a historical residential house named the Shen's House was turned around 90 degrees and moved over 100 meters at the city's old downtown area in Huangpu District.

Earlier in 2003, the Shanghai Concert Hall, weighing 5,800 tons, was shifted 66.46 meters and elevated over 3 meters to give way to the construction of Yan'an Elevated Road , creating a "miracle" in China's construction history.

In the near future, a 116-year-old townhouse block in Yangpu District — one of the oldest remaining lane-style residential buildings in the city — will be shifted to make way for the construction of the Jiangpu Road Tunnel beneath Huangpu River. It will possibly be moved back to its original place after the tunnel is completed.


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