Buildings that move

Most people regard buildings as static objects with the only moving parts being doors and windows. This is not always true.

Tall buildings

Very tall skyscrapers such as the Empire State building in New York move in high winds. The amount of movement can be measured in inches, and is not felt by inhabitants. Tall buildings are engineered to counteract the often tremendous force of high winds.

Moving whole buildings

When a site is re-developed, normally the existing buildings are demolished. If there is a building of historic value, then it can be physically moved to another location.

In the case of Sinclair’s Oyster Bar in Manchester, it was carefully de-constructed brick by brick then rebuilt 300 metres away when the Arndale shopping centre was redeveloped.

According to the Guinness book of records, the largest structure ever moved was the Fun Gang building in China, which weighed 15,140 tons. It took 11 days to move it just 118 feet.

Buildings with moving parts

Apart from doors and windows, some buildings have added moving parts. The Syddansk Universitet building in Denmark features triangular pieces that move according to the weather. They change how much light enters the building.

The Tacoma Art Museum in Washington has large moveable exterior screens that are operated by hand, using gears and a large control wheel. When moved, the screens protect the exhibits from damage due to too much sunlight.

In Poland, architecture students have created a concept of a community of micro homes that move around on old railroad tracks. The idea behind this is that, if you want to expand your home, you put another micro home on the tracks and move it so that connects with an existing unit.

Buildings are primarily static structures but there are some notable exceptions.

Posted by Matt Hughes
August 17, 2015

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