Shanghai – the gateway of China to the rest of the world. The international trading metropolis is a fascinating mix of classical Chinese culture and modernity. Especially when it comes to the architecture of the city, Shanghai always impresses with breathtaking skyscrapers. With this particular exception: instead of being raised to the skies, the new InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland has been built 88 meters into the ground.
The InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is one of the most spectacular hotel projects of recent years. The five-star hotel is located in a former quarry. Only two of the 18 floors are above the earth’s surface, 16 are below the level of the environment. The highlight will be the two hotel floors, which were built together with rooms and a restaurant under the artificial lake – overlooking an underground aquarium. Very similar in vibe to the underwater restaurant by Snøhetta.
The quarry was one of a handful in the Songjiang suburb of Shanghai that operated through the 1950s but has been abandoned ever since. “The site was really a scar on the surface of the earth,” said Martin Jochman of JADE+QA architects at a press conference. “We showed how to take a difficult and unusual site that nobody knew what to do with and make it useful again, revitalizing it with a new life.”
“Originally we were given absolutely no limitations on how to approach the design. The brief was really about producing a resort which used the quarry as best as it could,” said Jochman. “The inspiration for all this was the natural environment itself. It was the quarry, the cliffs, the green hills around it, the lake—despite it being an industrial site surrounded by industrial buildings, it was very pretty.”
According to the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), 336 rooms and suites with a total area of 61,000 square meters on 17 floors are waiting for guests. According to estimates, the building is said to have cost about half billion US dollars. The luxury hotel in the quarry offers wellness areas, congress facilities – all with views of the quarry and their own style. In terms of color, the rooms are said to harmonize with the gorge and underline the different shapes of the quarry in the room. The hotel suites, unlike conventional hotels, are located on the lower floors, even under water.
“Sustainability was an important part of the whole design process—using passive sustainability that was built into the building by design,” noted Jochman, who worked within the microclimate of the quarry to maximize efficiency. The location of the hotel within the site, for instance, was chosen to provide the most sunlight, not only for guest rooms but also for the hotel’s solar panels. The hotel also uses the natural air shaft between its structure and the cliff wall for insulation in the winter and cooling in the summer.
In addition to fitness facilities and a pool, travelers to this luxury resort have the opportunity to try out extreme sports. Secured with ropes, for example, they can jump into the gorge while bungee jumping or go rock climbing.