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Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel, China

The Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental hotel has opened within an 88-metre-deep abandoned quarry near Shanghai. Designed by London and Shanghai based Jade + QA, the 337-room hotel descends 16 storeys below ground level, within the former quarry and is described by the studio as a ground scraper. The concept for the building was inspired by the quarry itself and by its natural environment needing to be finely balanced with the new development following the using the Tao principles of yin yang.

The steel-framed building is attached to a cliff face on one side of the excavated water-filled quarry, with only two storeys rising above ground level and the lowest two floors descending below the water level. Rooms are wrapped around the walls of the quarry, with a “glass waterfall” structure containing the building’s observation lifts and giving access to all the floors.

The hotel’s public areas are located above and below the main room’s levels. The two storeys above ground contain the quarry hotel’s reception, a restaurant and conference facilities. Swimming pools and further conference facilities are on the lakeside, 14 floors below ground level. The two floors below water contain a restaurant and further bedrooms, which face onto an underwater aquarium. The unique location of the project, combined with the structural challenge of creating a tall building that is attached to the ground at both ends, meant that the hotel has taken 12 years to design and build.

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