Cave hotel underway in
water-filled Chinese quarry


News: construction has started on a hotel resort that will nestle into the 100 metre-high rockface of an abandoned water-filled quarry outside Shanghai.

A huge waterfall will pour down from the roof of the 19-storey hotel complex, which will have part of its body built into the cave and two of its floors submerged beneath the water.

Cave hotel underway in water-filled Chinese quarry

An extreme-sports facility will be cantilevered over the quarry, offering rock climbing and bungee jumping, and there will also be an underwater restaurant facing a ten-metre deep aquarium.

The Songjiang Hotel is designed by UK architecture firm Atkins, who won the competition bid in 2006. Construction has just begun and will take up to three years, although the hotel could open in 2015.

Cave hotel underway in water-filled Chinese quarry

Once complete, the hotel will offer around 400 rooms, as well as conference facilities for up to 1000 people, a banqueting hall, restaurants, a swimming pool and a water-sports centre.

The building will use geothermal technologies to generate its own electricity and lighting, while greenery will blanket a roof that extends just two storeys above the edge of the quarry.

Cave hotel underway in water-filled Chinese quarry

China remains at the centre of a construction boom, as nine of the 20 tallest buildings underway in 2012 are located there. Other major projects set for construction in the country include a 838-metre skyscraper with a 90-day construction period and a car-free "satellite city" for 80,000 people. See more architecture in China.

Other radical hotel proposals to surface in recent months include a 300-metre "space hotel" for Barcelona and the world's largest underwater hotel planned for Dubai. See more hotels on Dezeen.

Cave hotel underway in water-filled Chinese quarry

Here's a short statement from Atkins:

Atkins is providing architecture, structural and civil engineering services for this leisure resort in China which includes extreme sports facilities, visitor centre and a five-star luxury hotel with some levels of the hotel situated under water. Sustainability is integral to Atkins' design of this unique resort, built into an abandoned, water-filled quarry.

Our design solution includes the use of green roofing and exploiting the site's geothermal heat to generate electricity and heating. A naturally-lit internal atrium incorporates the existing rock face, with its waterfalls and green vegetation.

  • Steve

    It would have been nice to see an actual photo of the quarry. Maybe it doesn’t exist and they are going to make a giant hole.

    • Quarry Associates

      It does… Its big… and its a REAL quarry that has been there for more than 50 years. ‘No need to make a giant hole’…so there.

  • michal janak

    Is there any quality I am missing? This is prime kitch. I am sorry, Dezeen.

  • This looks fantastic, great idea.

  • dick c

    Nice! It’s about time someone utilised an old quarry like this. The Daily Mail has some photos of the site:

  • Rem Eisenman

    Now that is extreme sustainability, hope it has a VIP room.

  • tommy

    Oh China, your ghost cities will be a joy to redevelop in 100 years after you sort out your industrial revolution.

  • cer

    I wonder if they know that the water is extremely polluted from years as a quarry.

    • simple villager

      Not to mention damp cold air settlement/stratification within what is basically a very large sump. Think about it.

      • Quarry Associates

        Neither polluted nor damp and cold… the water new and biologically filtered and recycled. The ‘hole’ is big enough for good air circulation… do you really think we did not do our homework?

        • ARCH184

          Any updates/progress on this project?

          • Quarry Associates

            This project is now progressing well on site. The mock-up guest rooms have been completed and look great. Most design issues especially facade, landscape design and interiors have been finalised.

            Although construction is bit delayed by the technical complexity of building adjacent to a rock face (which is in process of being stabilised), it is set for completion early 2017.

            Steel structure will start in July and complete this year, after that – facades and fitting out. You can follow the progress on our twitter site @songjiangquarry

          • ARCH184

            Thank you for the reply. I am basing my architecture undergraduate dissertation topic on the potential of developing quarries. Do you have an email address that I can contact you on for more information regarding the technical aspects associated with this type of development?

          • Quarry Associates

            You can contact me for more information on Also you can follow the construction progress on twitter @songjiangquarry.

          • Madhu Likka

            Hi, I am a final year student of architecture. I have chosen “the potentials and possibilities of adaptive reuse of quarries” as my dissertation topic. I would be glad to get your help. Can I get your email address?

  • Gavin

    Fancy the Daily Mail showing an interest. I’d have thought it would be more up their street to put social housing types in disused quarries.

  • Coco

    It looks huge. I’m not rich, but I really wonder if there are enough rich people that would want to visit there?

  • A hotel in a quarry is an inspiring idea. Unfortunately, a suburban Marriott shoved up against a precipice doesn’t encompass all that is potentially amazing about such a project. More confrontation between the inhabited spaces and the rock and water of the quarry would be more interesting, rather than a curtain wall tarp blocking out the elemental beauty of the setting.

    • Quarry Associates

      Haha …Suburban Marriott? Since when did they have green roofs and glass waterfalls plunging 90 meters down a rock face? and Curtain wall tarp, confrontation? Hmmm… Why did the project win the MIPIM Gold?

      • CELLIS

        Very professional response there. Bravo.

  • Noel Batt

    Nice idea. Let’s hope they can pull the plug out quickly if theres a flood.

  • JeffK

    Oh Tommy, another fairly typical western view that truly amazing and successful feats of development couldn’t possibly happen in China. How can people honestly not think that this is an extraordinary and exciting project? Deep held prejudices.

  • IDJ

    Farce. Chinese marketing at its best:

    • Quarry Associates

      This is actually English marketing…

  • initialsBB

    Irony mode on: I like the sail boats in the second render.

    • mulletstyle

      The sailboats are great! Of course forget about having any decent wind, make sure you have a paddle!

      • Or a giant wind machine turned on.

        • Quarry Associates

          OK the renderer got it wrong… the images were changed immediately but Atkins are still using them…

  • anwar kedir

    I like the integration with the nature.

  • Hiatus

    I thought I was on Dezeen, not…

  • Qquer1

    Hey, this is the hotel from the movie The Incredibles!

  • rbnzg

    Didn’t expected anything else from Atkins :( Get real.

  • Clifton Smyth

    Future James Bond movie set!

    • Quarry Associates

      I hope so. Would be great location…

  • Doesn’t encompass all that is possibly astonishing about such a project. More battle between the inhabited spaces and the rock and water of the quarry would be more interesting. I like the integration with the nature. Nice post.

  • I used this as a stick to beat the desperately dull plans of a local developer cum planning group. Their proposal, while worthy, is a classic case of safety-first ‘anywhere in England’ design, with all the imagination of a dead ferret.

    The hotel’s glass ‘waterfall’ btw mirrors the real waterfall opposite.

  • Natasha

    @Dezeen – This would be a far more interesting and informative article if you had a statement from the architect and team behind this design. You are a design website so why do you acknowledge the corporation and not the designer/design team?

  • George

    Thunderbirds are go!!

    It looks like Tracy Island.

  • ADC


  • Quarry Associates

    Unfortunately, many of the details of this report are now outdated. Atkins are no longer involved in this project, which is now under construction with the design being completed by the original concept designers, working directly for the client.

    The design has considerably progressed since the original press release on which this article is based, and whilst the overall principle and shape of the hotel is consistent with the original concept, most of the facts presented here are inaccurate.

  • Quarry Associates

    BTW Atkins did not provide the Civil, structural and Mechanical engineering services on this project… ECADI in Shangahai did and did this extremely well…

    • Jessica N Randy Chavis

      This is one amazing hotel and great use of the quarry. I hope to visit when complete, good luck with the construction.

      • Martin J

        Thank you Jessica. Hopefully the hotel will be opened early 2016. Still lots of work to do.

  • Quarry Associates

    Here is a latest update on the status of the Songjiang Quarry Hotel – Shimao Wonderland Intercontinentall:

    The concept and the SD of this project was done by Martin Jochman as the concept designer and design director with Atkins and their Shanghai team. Following his departure from Atkins in 2012 Martin’s studio Quarry Associates(HK)Ltd signed contract with Shimao – (the Chinese Development company), to complete the design and to oversee the construction on site. Since March 2013 Martin’s Chinese registered architectural studio J.A.D.E. Ltd has been carrying out this work in Shanghai, completing the CD of the building facade and coordinating the landscape and interior design.

    Generally the concept is unchanged from the original except for minor modifications of the swimming pool, the quarry base facilities and the green roof, affected by the detailed planning development of the hotel and the Interior design. The hotel now has only one underwater level, facing a themed aquarium. The operator will be Intercontinental Hotel Group and external facilities will include a theme park, extreme sports centre and extensive surrounding landscape facilities.

    The work on site is now progressing well after a nine-month delay caused by the need to stabilise the whole rock face behind the hotel with anchors at 2x2m. The quarry base and the substructure almost completed and ready for the spectacular steel structure of the main hotel guest wings and the central vertical core in the shape of glass waterfall. Completion is now anticipated in mid 2017.

    See the latest renderings and the construction progress pictures:

    Martin Jochman, J.A.D.E + QA Shanghai.