Shanghai engineers fit building with legs and take it for a walk

An 85-year-old primary school in Shanghai has been fitted with 200 mechanical legs, allowing it to walk 62m from its original site to make way for a commercial development.

The Lagena Primary School, a five-storey structure built in 1935 by the municipal board of Shanghai’s former French Concession, was relocated over the course of 18 days in October.

Engineers from Shanghai-based Evolution Shift dug beneath the building to install 198 props. These were then extended to lift the building, after which they moved alternately up and down to "walk" the building to its new location.

  • See it walk here:


Lan Wuji, founder of Evolution Shift and chief technical supervisor of the project, told CNN that the process was like "giving the building crutches so it can stand up and walk".

The relocation was completed on 15 October, and the former school will now become a centre for heritage protection and cultural education.

Evolution Shift developed the technology in 2018. It used a similar method, involving jacks and rails, to move Shanghai’s Jade Buddha Temple 31m in June 2018, a project that Lan described at the time as "like walking and carrying a tray of tofu".

The project follows the relocation of a former Catholic nunnery in September, carried out by Belgian heavy-lift company Sarens (see further reading).

A timelapse video of the building in motion can be seen here.

Image: The school was moved to make way for a commercial development (CCTV via Youtube)

Further reading:

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