Sleepy Hollow in China, an underground luxury hotel

From smartplanet a brownfield transformation  By  that adds new meaning to Ken Yeang’s idea of “ground-scrapers” this one is more like a “subterranean-scraper”
 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.

All Images: Atkins

More information from

The architectural plans are futuristic, yet the 380-room hotel is expected to open by late 2014 or early 2015. Given how much work there is to do—CNN has an image of what the site currently looks like—those projections do seem rather bullish. But we’ve already seen how much hotel the Chinese can build in 15 days, so 2½ years for this fantastical construction might suffice.

The design was the award-winning work of Atkins, a British firm of architects. Martin Jochman, the team leader, has described the thinking behind it:

We drew our inspiration from the quarry setting itself, adopting the image of a green hill cascading down the natural rock face as a series of terraced landscaped hanging gardens. In the centre, we have created a transparent glass ‘waterfall’ from a central vertical circulation atrium connecting the quarry base with the ground level. This replicates the natural waterfalls on the existing quarry face.

No word there on what winds are supposed to fill the boats (see image), but I wouldn’t be surprised to find provision for a warm southerly breeze included in the engineering specifications.