Laofangzi Stories
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Huai Hai Road . Joffre Avenue
Time:2013-1-29 10:16:45Source: Author:Breeze 197 Tags: 1

Huaihai Road is one of the two most famous shopping streets in Shanghai; the other is Nanjing Road. Compared with the more touristy Nanjing Road, Huaihai Road is more upscale, and is the preferred destination of local residents. Huaihai Road comprises three sections, the main section being Middle Huaihai Road in the former French Concession of Shanghai. Middle Huaihai Road is also well known by its former French name Avenue Joffre.

Today's Huaihai Road comprises three sections, which were formerly three distinct streets. West Huaihai Road, formerly called Jordan Road, is 1,510 meters (4,950 ft) long and forms part of the boundary between Changning District and Xuhui District. East Huaihai Road, formerly Ningbo Road, is 373 meters (1,224 ft) long and was the boundary road between Huangpu and Nanshi districts before the two districts merged. Middle Huaihai Road, the main section, is 5,500 meters (18,000 ft) long. Most of this section lies in the former Luwan District (which was also merged into Huangpu in 2010), and extends west into Xuhui and Changning districts.

The 5,500-meter(3.4 mi)long Middle Huaihai Road has a large number of shops lining its route, from small boutiques to major department stores and shopping malls, as well as hotels and restaurants. Major buildings include Lippo Plaza, Shui On Plaza, Central Plaza, Shanghai Square, Shanghai Times Square, Hong Kong Plaza, and Hong Kong New World Tower, most hosting shopping malls or department stores on the lower floors with offices on top.

The eastern section of Middle Huaihai Road near the popular Xintiandi precinct has recently seen an influx of a large number of Western luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Ermenegildo Zegna. Many of the stores were opened in 2010 to coincide with the Shanghai Expo.

Middle Huaihai Road was built in 1901 as Rue Sikiang (Chinese: 西江路). Five years later it was renamed Route Paul Brunat (Chinese: 宝昌路). It was renamed again in 1915 to Avenue Joffre to honor the French generalJoseph Joffre, who visited Shanghai and attended an official renaming ceremony in 1922.[4] In the 1920s Avenue Joffre became an enclave of a large community of Russians fleeing the Communist revolution in their homeland.[5]
The Japanese occupied Shanghai during World War II, taking over the foreign concessions in 1941. In 1943 Avenue Joffre was renamed Taishan Road (Chinese: 泰山路) after Mount Taishan. The name only lasted two years, and after Japan was defeated the Kuomintang government renamed the street Lin Sen Road in honor of Lin Sen, the former President of the Republic of China who had died in 1943. However, the Communists in turn defeated the Kuomintang in the Chinese Civil War, and took over Shanghai in 1949. A year later the Communist government gave the street the current name, to commemorate its victorious Huaihai Campaign.

Historical Buildings:

1. Normandy Building/Wu kang Mansion
1836-1858 Middle Huaihai Road

There’s a building of interest sited east to west on the intersection of Huaihai Road and Wukang Road. It is surrounded by the lower set houses in the western style. This building, Wu Kang, Mansion, is dominating the other buildings in the area and features a Normandy style of building.

As we walk along Wukang Road on the Historical Architecture Tour, which as you know is part of our welcome to the World Expo, we will commence at the Normandy apartment which is located at the southern end of Wukang Rd. We are walking from west to east to reach the intersection of the 6 roads. Middle Huaihai Road, Yuqing Road, Tianping Road, West Huaihai Road, Xingguo Road and Wukang Road, you will see the Normandy apartment standing on a triangle plot which is adjacent to the intersection of Middle Huaihai Road and Wukang Road

You will note that this unique building seems to be a like parked boat. As a matter of interest this building is called Normandy, but, it did not get it’s name from the British/USA coalition’s landing on the Normandy Peninsula in Europe during World War II, as some people might think, but in order to commemorate a French ship called the Normandy, which was a prominent military ship which was sunk by a German submarine in the First World War. Wukang Mansion has been identified as flagship, or the leading building among dozens of garden houses, old houses and apartment buildings in the lanes. Local tourists travel here, also from abroad to observe and appreciate the old-style of architecture and the many new and modern buildings that were developed in the early 1900s.

This Wukang apartment building is actually composed of two buildings. The Normandy apartment and the Eastern U.S. special apartment. The former, according to the information we have, was built around 1924-1925. Normandy is 30 metres in height which is almost the highest building on former Xiafei Rd area., which is now Middle Huaihai Road. The building appearance is designed in a French Renaissance Architectural Style, or close to the Classical style. This is mainly because of its architect, Hudec from Hungary

The Normandy Apartment Building was the first apartment with an outside-gallery in Shanghai. The 8-storey building belongs to the three-stages Classical style or from the upper to the lower levels. You should pay particular attention to the continuous arcade, which makes people feel that they are seeing a design from the style of Ancient Rome and the arches they designed during that period and which also embodies the ideas and forms of Renaissance Architecture.

There is an arcade incorporated in to the building which is designed to protect the occupants from wind and rain and to facilitate the passage of pedestrian’s customers when shopping. It also adds to good neighborliness. The third floor and up to the seventh floor are decorated with dark red bricks. These bricks give the appearance of elegance and a sense of simplicity which adds to the whole building. Most of the bedrooms in the building are facing southwards. The apartments range from one, two, three to four bedroom apartments, making a total of 63 apartments. You will note that on the street corner and reaching up to the third floor level there are outside balconies which gives the appearance of an observation deck on a ship. This feature is not only convenient for the residents to leave the room to enjoy a street view, but also to view the facade design. The windows of the third-floor bedrooms are decorated with wooden window frames carved with triangular mountain flowers. Also, you will note the vase-style railings which are eye-catching and reveal the special charm of Classical Architecture. On the third floor at the back of the building you will note that it is built with an open-style veranda. This was the first time that this style of veranda had been tried and was considered innovative during the 1930”s Shanghai. This period during the last century was a time of great experimentation in the development of buildings in old Shanghai. Also, as the number of private cars was increasing dramatically, underground car parks were then incorporated into these well designed Wukang apartments.

These car parks were specially built and covered an area of 1,400 square metres for many rich people who occupied apartments on the second floor at that time.

2. Former Residence of Song Qingling
Address:No.1843, Huaihai Middle Road


Former Residence of Song Qingling in Shanghai was the place of her long living and the important place of her engaging in the activities of state affairs. The main building was built at the early days of 20’s of last century. In 1948, the government of Republic of China allocated this residence to Song Qingling. In 1949, Song Qingling leaped at the invitation of Chinese Communist Party here to go up north to attend the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, where she attached herself to constituting the fundamental policies of founding the state and was elected as the Vice-Chairman of Central Government of Chinese People.

At this residence she once engaged various activities of state affairs, and often interviewed and entertained honored visiting guests from all countries, which has actively promoted the domestic and foreign intercourses and maintained the international justice. Also at this residence, she made gestations and plans for the cause of the cultural welfare for women and children of New China and propagandizing publications to foreign countries, which were founded by herself. In 2001, the residence was granted as the key unit of cultural relics under state protection by State Council.

3. Shangfang Garden
NO.1285 Middle Huaihai Road

Shangfang Garden was set up in 1916 as a private garden of a British Jewish after whom the garden was named Sofa Garden. In 1933 Zhejiang Xingye Bank bought the land on which over 70 three-storey buildings were built in the garden-residence complex. Most of the premises are of brick-and-wood structure following Spanish style with disparate elevations and distinctive features. A small number of buildings are constructed in modern style. It was renamed Shangfang Garden in 1950s and inscribed by Zhang Yuanji who is a famous publisher and lives in the complex.

4. Gascogne Apartment
N0.1202Huai hai Rd

Gascogne Apartment was built in 1935 with concrete frame structure and it was rebuilt these two years.The property covers an area of 4553.36 square meters and with a 13138 square meters of floor area, which is a typical ART DECO style architecture. The property consists two buildings, the main building is 53 meters' high and with 13 floors, the other building is 5 floors. The main building was transformed to service apartment. The lobby is nicely decorated and elegant,which bring noble and reminiscent flavor of old Shanghai time.