Shanghai building sprouts a snake to top it off

A building in Shanghai is taking innovation to a new level – by walking out of its building. In collaboration with architects and engineers from structural sciences firm World Architecture Festival, a building measuring…

Shanghai building sprouts a snake to top it off

A building in Shanghai is taking innovation to a new level – by walking out of its building.

In collaboration with architects and engineers from structural sciences firm World Architecture Festival, a building measuring 5,740m2 will soon be shaped like a snake, as it shoots up from a reinforced concrete shell.

As it opens up to the west, the vast snake forms a serpentine mountain, spanning 150 metres (492ft) across. But as it approaches the south, a narrow walkway cuts through, forming what resembles a small village and a lake. The walkway will go up the building, wrapping the snake, twisting as it does, in a Klimt-esque ribbon.

A lobby for the snake-shaped building. Photograph: Shuchi Bansal

“This project … is a strong testament to the creative imagination, innovation and efforts toward sustainability required in today’s real estate market,” said Luo Chende, founding principal of WORLD Architecture Festival.

The snake is designed to embody a city that is an effort to “replicate the aesthetic and social beliefs of Shaanxi province, one of China’s most environmentally minded regions”, said Wang Guophing, chairman of the People’s Forum of Shaanxi Province.

“Although human settlement is not the first trend of Shaanxi, this feature remains a common characteristic in the region,” he said.

Shi Shengjie, a senior architect from the M+ institute, said that though much smaller than the towers we often see rising in Shanghai, the snake is still impressive, and “strange”. “The snake is very beautiful and unique and I see it as unique international design.”

As the building is built, two neighbouring buildings will join together to form a “mutuelle”. These buildings contain cranes that will help work the snake into shape, and are similar to the “scopes” currently used to place skyscrapers in Shanghai.

Rescue workers enter a collapsed building on Sunday, 14 July 2010 in Tangshan. Photograph: Ian Wang/AP

There was a risk that the snake-shaped structure could topple into the water during construction, but it has been kitted out with a fortification system built into the metal frame.

Klm 7, which combines structural engineering and urban planning expertise, said the building was a reflection of the world’s growing urbanism – from cities like Shanghai, to rural China’s growing cities.

“Our connection with Shanghai-based product designers, architects and international stakeholders brings about a great sense of possibility and togetherness – we come together to shape the future of cities and cities of the future and city technologies to further enhance the imagination,” said Klm 7 CEO, Wang King.

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