Laofangzi Stories
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Time:2013-1-29 9:52:03Source:Laofangzi Stories Author:Jerome 197 Tags: 1

The Bund . Shanghai

The Bund, also called Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu (East Zhongshan 1st Road), is a famous waterfront and regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. It is on the west bank of Huangpu River from the Waibaidu Bridge to Nanpu Bridge and winds 1500 meters (0.93 mile) in length. The most famous and attractive sight which is at the west side of the Bund are the 26 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance. The 1,700-meters (1,859 yards) long flood-control wall, known as 'the lovers' wall', located on the side of Huangpu River from Huangpu Park to Xinkai River and once was the most romantic corner in Shanghai in the last century. After renovation, the monotone concrete buildings that lovers leaned against in the past have been improved into hollowed-out railings full of romantic atmosphere. Standing by the railings, visitors can have a 'snap-shot' view of the scenery of Pudong Area and Huangpu River.

Before the 1840s, the Bund was a muddy narrow lane with tall reeds. It initially became a British settlement. After Shanghai was established as the trading port in 1846, a street was paved there and the riversides were reinforced. Then, rows of commercial buildings were constructed. As the UK Concession, a building boom at the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century led to the Bund becoming a major financial hub of East Asia. It was the centre of the city's politics, economy and culture more than a hundred years ago, consulates of most countries and many banks, businesses and newspaper offices were settled there, and that's why we have these art-like buildings. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the thawing of economic policy in the People's Republic of China, buildings on the Bund were gradually returned to their former uses. Government institutions were moved out in favor of financial institutions, while hotels resumed trading as such. In the 1990s the Shanghai government attempted to promote an extended concept of the Bund to boost tourism and land values in nearby areas, as well as to reconcile the promotion of 'colonial relics' with Socialist ideology. From 2008, a major reconfiguration of traffic flow along the Bund was carried out. After a 33-month upgrade, the Bund was reopened to visitors on March 28, 2010. The veil on the new Bund was finally lifted. After the reconstruction, most transit vehicles which originally got through the ground level roads began to make their way through the new underground tunnel. The original eleven driveways on the Bund ground were compressed into four two-way lanes. Thus more space was left for expending the four major squares: Huangpu Park, Chen Yi Square, the Bund Financial Square, and the Observatory Plaza. After being reconstructed, the new Bund waterfront is neat and atmospheric. The public activity space is expansive embracing more visitors. Asia Building (No.1)

20101202162201734.jpgBuilt in 1916 and regarded as 'the first mansion', it is originally the McBain Building and housed the Shanghai offices of Royal Dutch Shell and the Asiatic Petroleum Company in the past. It is currently used by China Pacific Insurance Co. Ltd. It has eight floors and its construction area is about 11,984 square meters while covering an area of 1,739 square meters. With an eclectic style, the exterior of the building is divided into three horizontal parts and three upright parts. Both the bottom and upper parts are in Baroque style, while the middle part is in modernist architectural style. It is gorgeous and elegant. East Wind Hotel (No.2)

It was formerly named the Shanghai Club which was the principal social club for British nationals in Shanghai. The original Club was a three-storey red-brick building constructed in 1861. It was torn down and rebuilt in 1910 with reinforced concrete in a neo-classical design. The large first floor dining room has black and white marble flooring, while the entrance staircase uses imported white Sicilian marble. The second floor is the international matelot club and the others are guest rooms. With complete facilities and beautiful decoration, the hotel is the ideal choice for business accommodation. Bund No.3 (No.3)


Built in 1922, it is originally the Union Building where a number of insurance companies were housed. The seven-storey building was the first work in Shanghai of P&T Architects and Surveyors (Palmer & Turner), and was the first building in the city to use a steel structure. Occupying 2241 square meters, with a floor area of 13,760 square meters, it is in the Neo-Renaissance style with a symmetrical facade, but with some Baroque style details. The roof features a domed corner pavilion. The Nissin Building (No.5) 

Built in 1925, it was used to house the Japanese shipping firm, Nishin Navigation Company. Now, it is used by Huaxia Bank and Jindu Industry. It was a mixture of modern architecture with classical architectural style of latter-day Japan and thus it was regarded as 'Japan-Judah-style'. The six-storied building covers an area of 1280 square meters. The decoration of the bottom three floors are relatively simple while the upper three have classical columns and carved flowers which show a strong third-dimension. China Merchants Bank Building (No.6)

China Merchants Bank Building, or Commercial Bank of China Building, acknowledged as one of the oldest buildings on the Bund, is generally documented as being built in 1897 as premises for either the Imperial Bank of China or the Commercial Bank of China. The building itself was completed many years earlier than is generally realized as the new premises for Russell & Co., one of the most illustrious American companies to operate in China in the 19th century. It is the location of the International Enterprise Co., Ltd. Hong Kong Parkview now. It is a false four-story Gothic-style building. There are five fastigiated layers in the fourth floor while small steeples can be found on both the third and fourth floor. The windows in the first and second floor are typical Gothic style flower lattice. Today, the upper three floors are devoted to fine cuisine and high living. The Great Northern Telegraph Company Building (No.7)

300281210670133193759632382_950.jpgEventually opened in January 1908, it housed the offices of the British owned Eastern Extension and the American owned Commercial Cable telegraph companies. Originally there were three entrances leading to the respective company offices. The Great Northern Telegraphy Company, a Danish concern, had laid a line to Beijing in the early 1880s and had completed the one to Nagasaki before the new offices opened. The building, in Renaissance style, designed by Atkinson & Dallas, housed some state-of-the art equipment, including a pneumatic tube system to handle the telegrams and a lift made by Smith & Stevens of London. Public telephones were found in abundance in the ground floor hall. The Great Northern Telegraphy Company occupied the first floor, and most of the frontage was given over to a series of fine suites for its manager, engineer and accountant. The Commercial Bank of China has moved its business into it. The Bangkok Bank took over part of the premises in 1995 and, as in days gone by when numerous consulates occupied the Bunds buildings, the Royal Thai Consulate-General also took up residence. The China Merchants Company Building (No.9)


Bund Building No.6

It  was constructed in 1901 by The China Merchants Steam Navigation Company which was run by the Qing Dynasty's Ministry of Trade. The government had purchased the bankrupt American Russell & Co. in the 1870s, and subsequently built this building on the site of their riverfront garden. The building stands as one of China's most symbolic and memorable examples of the nation's early modernization process. It appears fine and delicate, and is the Bund's unique remaining example of neo-Classical external-corridor architecture of the late Victorian era. Furthermore, it is one of two examples of red-brick construction along the Bund's row of grey buildings (the other being the South Building of the Peace Hotel). The main three-storey structure is made of brick, stone, timber and steel, enclosing a space of 1,460 square meters. The structure is divided into five bays and supported by eight steel columns and masonry peripheral walls. The original floors were of post-and-beam wooden construction. The external perspective reveals a three-tiered, Neo-Classical style with sloping rooves, with the Eastern Bund-facing external-corridor with Corinthian and Tuscan columns on the second and third floor, and a connecting structure off the south-western corner made entirely of brick and timber. The Eastern facade flanking wings have English Classical Renaissance-styled gables. Granite stone is primarily used in the Eastern facade for the base, as well as the Chinese traditional greenish slate for the eaves and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (No.12)


Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (No.12)

Formerly the HSBC Building and the People's Government of the Municipality of Shanghai Building. Currently it houses the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. Construction began on May 5, 1921, and completed on June 23, 1923. It was built in the style of neo-classicism in China and designed by the British architecture firm, Palmer & Turner Architects and Surveyors. It has a floor area of 23,415 square meters, and was the second largest building in the world at that time, after the Bank of Scotland building in the United Kingdom. Its exterior adopted a strict neo-classicist design, with a tripartite vertical and horizontal division. In the centre is a dome, the base decorated with a triangular structure imitating Greek temples. Below that are six Ionic columns penetrating from the second to the fourth storey. The main structure is five storeys, the central section seven storeys, with one and a half storey for the basement. The main structure has a steel lattice with brick filling, and a granite exterior. The interior was luxuriously decorated, using materials such as marble and monel. The whole building was fitted with heating and air-conditioning. The main trading hall has eight columns hewn from whole blocks of marble, which was at the time unique in Asia. Behind the main building is a subsidiary building which houses bank offices, safes and vaults. Shanghai Customs House (No.13)
Built in 1927, it is originally named Jianghai Custom House. It is considered as one of the symbols of the Bund together with its sister building, the HSBC Building. The Customs House occupies an area of 5,722 square meters and a floor space of 32,680 square meters with eight storeys. It is in two sections: the eastern section is eight storeys tall and faces the Huangpu River. It is topped by a clock tower, which are 11 storeys or 90 meters tall. The western section is five stories tall, and faces onto Sichuan Road. A reinforced concrete structure was used. The exterior follows a Greek-revival Neo-Classicist design. The eastern section is entirely surfaced in granite, as are the first two storeys of the western section, with the upper three storeys faced with brown bricks. The main entrance has four Doric columns. Eaves are found above the first and second storeys, with a larger one above the sixth floor. Large stone columns penetrate from the third to the sixth storey. 

01300000029584120701539556456_s.jpg Shanghai Municipal Trade Union Council (No.14)
Built in 1948, it is the former Bank of Communications Building. It now houses the Shanghai Council of Trade Unions. It occupies an area of 1,908 square meters and a floor area of 10,088 square meters. The building's architect, C. H. Gonda, programmed it into Neo-Renaissance style which emphasized the vertical lines and simple and clear façade of architectural design. The bottom wall looks magnificent and gorgeous with black marble veneer. There are man-made circular artificial marble escalators decorated with purple cooper balusters on both sides of the entrance door. On the second floor, you will see red everywhere and it looks splendid, withthe lower half of the 30 round pillars and walls around the hall decorated with red ceramic tiles. The floor is also paved with red tiles. The imposing exterior and warm inside makes the building possess a unique style. Shanghai Foreign Exchange Trade Centre (No.15)

Built in 1901, it is formerly the Russo-Chinese Bank Building. It was designed by Heinrich Bake in the new neo-classicism style of Renaissance period. It is graceful and magnificent, covering an area of 1,460 square meters, with a construction area of 5,018 square meters and three storeys high. The structure is built on stability with refined decoration. It regards the main entrance as the axis and there are four rolls of window on both sides of the gate. The grounds include imported colored ceramic tile used as foreshadowing. The outside wall is paved with white glazed ceramic tiles and granite. The central hall of the ground floor is three storeys high and covered with a colored drawing and patterned glass ceiling. The interior decoration is very luxurious. China Merchants Bank (No.16)
Built in 1924, it was formerly the Bank of Taiwan Building. It was a Japanese private joint banking venture, which first opened a branch in Shanghai in 1911. It is now the China Merchants Bank with an area of 904 square meters. The building belongs to a western architectural style as seen in modem Japan. The walls and main entrances of the banking hall were originally in Italian marble and the floors had a rubber tile finish. Today, apart from the intricate marble balus trades on the mezzanine floor, the marble in the banking hall has been replaced. Presumably the marble balustrades survived only on account of the expense or the difficulty of recreating them. The two floors above the main banking hall were originally rented out, whilst the top floor provided living quarters and recreational rooms for bank staff. AIA Building (No.17)

Constructed in 1921, it was formerly known as the building of the 'North China Daily News'. This was the biggest foreign news publishing company in Shanghai at that time. Its name was changed to the AIA Building when American International Assurance Co. Ltd. settled there. It is a modern construction in Renaissance style and the elevation is divided horizontally into three parts. The lower part is faced with huge stone blocks, the middle part cemented and the upper part has columns protecting inner verandas. Bund No.18 (No.18)
Formerly know as the Chartered Bank Building, it was built in 1923. Lions' heads on sandstone bronze with lamp brackets, emblematic of the British nationality of the bank, once adorned each side of the entrance gates. Floral motifs from the surviving English- made bronze gates, which despite their Greek detailing had an Oriental feel, were used in the banking hall. Originally, carved keystones incorporating rams' heads, representing India, Australia and China, were set over the ground floor windows. The entrance vestibule featured four Brecchia marble columns, and the walls were lined with a rich, cream colored, Pavonazzo marble on a black plinth. The original floor was in Roman marble mosaic and the ceiling of fibrous plaster. With the exception of the woodwork, the whole of the wall, floor, coffered ceiling and sculpted Italian marble found on the ground floor was shipped from England. The entire ground floor and the basement were occupied by the bank. The steel framed building, designed by Tug Wilson in a classic neo-Greek style with little ornamentation, rested on two reinforced rafts, one for the main block, and one for the back block where the strong rooms were situated.

Night View
It is worth a visit to see the florid night view of the Bund. Under the tenet of keeping harmony and unity, the use of period lamp-posts is in keeping with the aesthetic feeling of the building structures. It fully exhibits the magnificence of the various buildings of different architectural styles and make up of the best night scene of Shanghai together with the colorful lights floating in the river and the flashing lights on the far side of the river. The night piece of the Bund was named in 'Shanghai top ten night light views' in 2009.