Shimao Wonderland Hotel

The world’s first quarry hotel has been opened in China, designed by Martin Jochman and his studio JADE + QA.

The world’s first quarry hotel has been opened in China, designed by Martin Jochman and his studio JADE + QA. Situated in an 88-meter-deep, water-filled, disused quarry, the 337-guestroom Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland Hotel contains only two levels above ground, with 16 more levels plunging into the quarry below. The winner of an international design competition in 2006, Jochman developed the scheme in collaboration with ATKINS, in a process which has lasted over a decade. The resulting “groundscraper” features such amenities as an underwater restaurant and aquarium, all set within a form which seeks to minimize its impact on the local environment.

At the top of the quarry, a grass roof helps the scheme to adopt a low profile, with only two levels emerging above the clifftop. Below, 16 levels cascade down the side of the quarry in a spectacular “glass waterfall” housing a vertical circulation core and observation lifts, flanked by two guest wings. At the base, the two lowest levels are sunk underwater, containing guestrooms, restaurants, and an aquarium, while a conference/ballroom center and swimming pools comprise the bottom surface level.

Internally, passive sustainable features take advantage of the scheme’s orientation, low profile, grass roof, and thermal properties of the quarry rock mass and lake, thus creating a unique microclimate that provides summer cooling and winter heating. As such, the scheme offers an intriguing example of the potential uses for brownfield sites worldwide.

The largest obstacle facing the design team throughout the scheme’s inception was stabilizing the cliff faces adjacent to the hotel wings, a task completed in late 2015. Following the completion of the foundations and substructure on the quarry floor level, work on the steel structure within the quarry began in February 2016. Internal fit-outs and external landscaping were completed in October 2018, permitting a November 15th opening date to the public.

Completion of the world’s first quarry hotel marks the latest in a series of milestones for China, who can also claim the world’s longest sea bridge, world’s first vertical forest city, and the world’s tallest atrium, as well as more niche accomplishments such as the world’s largest waste-to-energy plant, world’s largest 3D-printed concrete pedestrian bridge, and the world’s largest ice sculpture festival.

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March 12, 2023
Iraj Zolnasr
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