this five-star hotel by JADE+QA is built into a disused quarry in china

this five-star hotel by JADE+QA is built into a disused quarry in china

this dramatically situated hotel in china occupies an 88-meter-deep disused quarry. the project, which was first unveiled in 2012 and opened in november 2018, was conceived as a ‘groundscraper’ with only two of the building’s levels above ground. a further 16 storeys cascade down the rugged quarry cliff face, while two additional levels are located beneath the water that sits at the bottom of the quarry. these ‘underwater’ spaces contain guest rooms and public areas such as restaurants and an underwater aquarium.

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
the hotel occupies an 88-meter-deep disused quarry near shanghai
image by blakstation & kevin | video by JADE+QA



in march 2013, JADE (the firm set up by the project’s original concept designer and director, martin jochman) and quarry associates (QA) signed a contract with the developer shimao, to complete the remaining design stages and coordinate the hotel’s construction. martin jochman was the original designer of the winning concept of the international competition held in 2006 and oversaw the scheme’s design development with atkins. for the past six years, his design studio, JADE+QA, has been responsible for completing all aspects of the design.

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
an aerial view of the vast development
image by JADE+QA



having completed the difficult task of stabilizing the cliff faces adjacent to the hotel wings in late 2015, the foundations and sub structure on the quarry floor level were completed in 2016. the steel structure within the quarry got underway in february 2016, with the internal fit out and the extensive landscape design completed in october 2018. now open to guests, the five star shimao wonderland intercontinental comprises a total of 337 rooms.

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
a total of 16 storeys cascade down the rugged quarry cliff face
image by blakstation & kevin



the hotel features a large conference center/ballroom together with water-based leisure facilities and swimming pools at the base of the quarry. externally, visitor facilities include an outdoor themed entertainment park and a cantilevered glass walkway. meanwhile, the hotel’s vertical circulation core is housed within a dramatic ‘glass waterfall’ that appears to cascade down the cliff face.

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
the hotel’s vertical circulation core is housed within a ‘glass waterfall’
image by JADE+QA



furthermore, the building’s mainly passive sustainable features take advantage of the scheme’s orientation, low profile, grass roof and 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. the architects say that the utilization of a disused industrial quarry site makes an important contribution to the principles of sustainability in china.

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
a spa looks out onto the exposed rock of the former quarry
image by JADE+QA

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
the hotel includes an underwater restaurant 
image by JADE+QA

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
communal areas are found at the building’s lower levels
image by JADE+QA

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
leisure facilities and swimming pools are found at the base of the quarry
image by blakstation & kevin

shimao wonderland intercontinental hotel
the five star hotel opened in november 2018
image by blakstation & kevin



project info:


name: shimao wonderland intercontinental
location: songjiang , shanghai, china
developer: shimao group
operator: IHG – (intercontinental hotels group)
architect: martin jochman dip arch RIBA – studio JADE+QA (concept with atkins)
time scale: 2006 -2018
opened: november 15, 2018
building area: 62,171.9 sqm / 669,213 sqf
number of guestrooms: 337
number of floors: 2 above ground level, 16 below ground level, 2 under water

  • ‘An excellent use of a resource that would be abandoned and typically placed off-limits. Great idea.


    Jimmy Xi says:
  • Fantastic concept. Bordering on overkill. I do hope that sufficient note has been made of
    The future water levels and drainage if they rise. Also if the water is only fed by rainfall
    There is a big danger of mosquito swarms and bacteria levels.

    Johnb says:
  • I agree, gorgeous concept, but what about the dangers of earthquakes and the riverway breaching the banks? Bravo for the bravery of Shanghai and the architects who worked diligently to make an unusual world class living establishment!

    Debra SIEMENS says:

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