Shimao Intercontinental Hotel

There's already been plenty of buzz about the upcoming Shimao Intercontinental Hotel in nearby Songjiang -- ever since British engineering and architecture firm Atkins released photo renderings of its design for the 19-story partially submerged hotel, netizens everywhere have been weighing in with their two cents on the project. Some of the feedback hasn't been altogether positive -- sentiments about the design being over-ambitious and gaudy-looking -- but whether you love or hate the look of the new hotel, it's hard to deny that Atkins has made attempts to design the space with sustainability in mind. The firm has plans to use solar photovoltaics, plus harness geothermal energy from the quarry's lake for generating electricity, heating and cooling, as well as built-in green roofing and an artificial "waterfall" to promote the site's natural form. According to Atkins Shanghai's Associate of RIBA, Architecture, Justin Bridgland, naturally integrating the building into the existing quarry has been a key principle of the project from the beginning: "...during the design process the team discussed with the client about how to deal with the water, and how the structure would effectively be suspended in the quarry without touching the sides so to minimize its impact on the environment. This was one of the fundamental design concepts, how to blend the building into the landscape". Bridgland explains to us that the Atkins team that came up with the original design is still on the Shimao project, now acting as adviser to the firm's client as a local design institute (LDI) implements the plans. "With construction projects in China, China building codes require that the detailed drawings are completed by local design institutes (LDI). This is because each district has specific rules and regulations and because only China companies can stamp or sign-off details... In terms of dampness and subsidence [...], these will be resolved by the contractor and LDI in the final design stage. However, the technology is well developed and can be found in the construction of aquariums. There are also precedents of hotels being underwater in the Middle East". The Shimao Intercontinental is expected to be completed sometime in 2014-2015 and will include a surrounding amusement park. What are your thoughts on this one, Shanghai? Great design or missed opportunity? Tell us in the comments box below.