In Shanghai in an eastern district of the city, Huangpu, an 85-year-old elementary school has been lifted off the ground - in its entirety - and transferred using a new technology called walking machine. The supports at the base of the imposing building, in fact, act as robotic legs: they are divided into two groups that rise and fall alternately, imitating the human step. The operation lasted 18 days, during which the building was rotated by 21 degrees and moved 62 meters to its new position.
Lagena Elementary School was built, according to a declaration of the Huangpu district government, in 1935 by the city council of the former French Concession of Shanghai. The construction was moved to make room for a new commercial and office complex, which will be completed by 2023.
The project marks the first case of the relocation of a historic building to Shanghai. In recent decades, China's rapid modernization has seen many buildings razed to make way for the most modern skyscrapers. But there has been growing concern about the architectural heritage lost due to demolition across the country. Some cities have launched new conservation and preservation campaigns, including sometimes the use of advanced technology to relocate old buildings rather than demolish them.