Up close TEXT MARK ANDREWS
Off the beaten path
PHOTOS MARK ANDREWS AND COURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL SHANGHAI
Every night at 7:30 pm an Echo performance projects images onto a wall of water in the lake accompanied by a soundtrack.
FIVE-STAR WONDER NOWH E RE is the old expression “location, location,” more apt than with one of Shanghai’s n ewest hotels. The five-star InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland hugs the side of an abandoned andesite quarry in the southwest Songjiang District, just 20 minutes from downtown. Shimao Group chairman Xu Rongmao had the vision for the project after discovering the abandoned 88-metre deep quarry. Describing it as a scar on the earth, he wanted to turn it into a treasure. “The potential beauty and drama of this incredible site and the challenges and opportunities it gave struck me immediately. To see it becoming reality after 12 years is a great feeling,” says lead architect Martin Jochman, who has seen the p roject through from beginning to end. “The massing elements of the hotel are
based on the shape of the quarry edge on which it sits and is ‘organically’ composed using three basic elements, inspired by the quarry and the surrounding environment itself,” says Jochman. A waterfall cascades down the cliff face opposite the hotel, and the former path taken by the quarrymen, illuminated at night by LED lights, zigzags its way down the cliff face. Sixteen of the hotel’s 18 floors are below ground level including two beneath the surface of the lake. All 336 rooms have views of the quarry but with the living rooms of the suites located underwater, each has a private aquarium. For the adventurous there is kayaking on the lake and rock climbing up the walls. And for the those with a head for heights the theme park next door has a zip line to whiz you over the crater.
FI NNAI R FL I E S TO Shanghai
NOVEMBER 2019 BLUE WINGS 17