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Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel


Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel
Songjiang, Shanghai, China


Our flagship project for a unique resort hotel located in an abandoned quarry, a result of  an international competition in 2006, is now completed and officially opened in November 2018. It’s concept expresses our design philosophy of sensitively fitting into the natural environment and not fighting against it. The 5 star resort hotel, hugging a 90m cliff face will feature 337 rooms including underwater suites and restaurants, banqueting room, conference centre and variety of restaurants and bars. Concept with ATKINS, Completed design and construction overview JADE+QA


Design Philosophy

The Design Philosophy of this unique building ‘s concept has been to generate the massing and character to fit seamlessly into the environment of the quarry and whilst becoming a landmark also becomes a part of the rugged landscape itself.

The 4 principal elements of the building form have been therefore directly inspired by location and the quarry environment and these are:

  • The Green Hill – These are the 2 levels above the ground level covered partly with green roof.
  • The Hanging Gardens – The convex and concave guest wings cascading down the cliff face
  • The Glass waterfall – Vertical circulation – glazed atrium with observation lifts in the shape of a waterfall
  • The Lagoon – Underwater guest rooms and public areas faced with large tropical aquarium tanks

These elements are ‘organically’ seamlessly linked to provide the final form which reflects the character of the area and the profile of the cliff faces.

Engineering Challenges

The engineering challenges facing this project had to solve unusual problems of the seismic implications of the ‘tall building fixed at both ends’ and the associated problems of fire safety, drainage, water quality and circulation associated with its location and the fact that it is in fact ‘an upside down’ skyscraper.


Apart from minimising the impact of this building on the local environment by its orientation and adopting low profile with only 2 floor levels above the ground, the mainly passive sustainable features will take advantage of the orientation, low profile, grass roof minimising the impact of North wind and providing biodiversity.

The unique microclimate caused by the thermal properties of the quarry rock mass and the quarry lake, cooling the structure in the summer and heating in the winter will also have positive effect on the energy consumption of the hotel.

This successful ‘Brownfield’ site recycling (or even up-Cycling) by utilisation of a disused industrial quarry site and giving it new purpose will make this project important contribution to the principles of sustainability in China and around the world giving an example how difficult industrial sites can be given new lease of life.


This project was shortlisted for the World Architectural Festival prize in Barcelona in 2008 and received Gold prize at 2011 MIPIM Asia in Hong Kong for Chinese Future Buildings. It has also recently won an award as ‘Best Luxury Hotel Architecture’ at the ‘China Luxury Hotel & Resort Congress 2014’ in Shanghai

In 2013 The National Geographic Discovery Chanel commenced filming the construction and design process of this project for an episode of their popular ‘Megastructures’ TV series, to be completed in time for the hotel opening , closely followed by a production teams from UK filming episodes for TV programmes ‘The impossible Engineering’ and ‘Impossible Builds’.

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