In China, an underground luxury hotel

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In China, an underground luxury hotel

| architecture, buildings, built environment, Green Architecture, Green Built Environment, Landscape Architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, Sculpture | April 12, 2012

While many architects and engineers have been vying to construct the world’s tallest tower, a group in China has looked to build in the opposite direction.

Construction began last month on Shanghai’s first “groundscraper”—a structure built almost completely below the surface. The massive project will eventually take form as the InterContinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland, a 19-story, 380-room luxury hotel surrounded by a 428,000 square-meter theme park.

The hotel broke ground about 30 miles from the city of Shanghai in an abandoned quarry at the foot of Tianmashan Mountain. The building, located in the district of Songjiang, will be grafted onto the side of the quarry with 16 floors descending down and three floors resting above the crater.

Just as the top levels of a skyscraper are often filled with elegant restaurants and the most luxurious of rooms, the bottom two floors of the groundscraper will include an underwater restaurant, an athletic complex for water sports and 10-meter deep aquarium.

The quarry’s surrounding cliffs will be used for extreme sports like bungee jumping and rock climbing.

The project’s developers at the Shimao Property Group worked with British engineering firm Atkins to bring the idea to fruition and expect to near completion in late 2014 or early 2015.

The theme park and hotel are expected to cost at least $555 million and nightly room rates should start at approximately $320.

Existing quarry


About the author

Drawing upon original ideas and extensive personal and professional experience in the field, David McFadden crafted this article to explore the latest trends in the fields of architecture and building design. After working at various design practices—both full-time and freelance—and launching his design firm, David identified a significant gap in the industry. In 1984, he founded Consulting For Architects Inc. Careers, an expansive hub designed to align architects with hiring firms for mutual benefit. This platform enables architects to find impactful design work and frees hiring firms from the time-consuming cycles of recruitment and layoffs. David’s innovative approach to employer-employee relations has brought much-needed flexibility and adaptation to the industry. As the Founder and CEO, David has successfully guided his clients and staff through the challenges of four recessions—the early ’80s, early ’90s, early 2000s, the Great Recession, the pandemic, and the current slowdown due to inflation and high-interest rates.

5 Responses to "In China, an underground luxury hotel"
  • umanbn April 12, 2012

    Love it! That’s so cool and a great re-use of a huge eyesore…..they should turn all old quarries into something else….underground towns, business centres, holiday parks…..

  • Cabbie Notes April 12, 2012

    What a novel concept of a “groundscaper.” I agree with umanbn that repurposing of resources, especially old quarries, is a great idea. I look forward to when that project will be completed. Thanks for sharing. Cheers.

  • David C. McFadden April 12, 2012

    One thing that’s weird is the amount of new landscaping that surrounds the hotel. If you look at the quarrys location it seems pretty desolate – I guess the draw will be the novelty of the project itself.

  • scott April 13, 2012

    I notice that the renderings don’t show the expansive network of power lines and electrical towers shown in th ebackground of the quarry photo. Do they plan on moving all of those underground, or are they hoping visitors will just ignore them.

  • vijayachandran a April 21, 2012

    Great!. There is a similar quarry at the international tourism destination at Kovalam, Trivandrum, India, which could be utilised similarly

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