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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate sorting photos. It takes me ages - 2 years in this case. These photos focus on the grand old colonial-era buildings on and around The Bund, Nanjing Lu, and Renmin Square which are the areas where tourists will spend most of their time. There's much more to Shanghai's architecture than just skyscrapers and other glossy modern developments. These cover only a fraction of the old buildings in Shanghai and I have missed out whole swathes of Shanghai's best old buildings - especially those in the former French Concession around Weihai Lu and further inland. :)

1. Skyline from the rooftop bar of the Captain Hostel on Fuzhou Lu:

2. Pudong skyline from The Bund (this is just one of many clusters in Shanghai):



5. Jin Mao and surrounds:





10. The Bund. This waterfront is the heart and soul of Shanghai. Most of the buildings were built for British firms and by British architects (especially Palmer & Turner). Indeed this is the former British Concesion that later merged with the American Concession to form the International Settlement.





15. The former Cathay Hotel (now the Peace Hotel) was built by Victor Sassoon, a British Sephardic Jew of Iraqi origin, and one of the most important figures in pre-communist Shanghai. He moved the family business from Bombay to Shanghai to avoid some minimal Factory Act labour protection law that the British Indian government had introduced. It's nice to go for cocktails on the rooftop bar in the evening. The views are stupendous. I recommend the creamy White Russian (ask for it with cream). There's normally some old jazz band playing covers which is quite atmospheric.

16. The Bank of China, like the Cathay Hotel next door (above), was designed by Palmer & Turner - a British architectural firm that fled Shanghai for the safety of Hong Kong when the communists took over and have recently returned to the city. It was built slightly shorter than the Cathay Hotel's copula at the insistence of Victor Sassoon:










26. Custom House was also designed by Palmer & Turner:




30. The incredible former HQ of HSBC (The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corportation), now offices of the Pudong Development Bank, is another Palmer & Turner masterpiece and the grandest building on The Bund:

31. HSBC's lions "Stephen and Stitt" are named after former HSBC directors in Hong Kong and Shanghai respectively (Stephen is the growling lion). These were cast in the '20s. The lions outside HSBC's Canary Wharf HQ are replicas of the slightly larger lions from the '30s that stand outside the Hong Kong headquarters:

32. Note the bright patch around Stephen's mouth. Superstitious Chinese touch his mouth for luck and prosperity:



35. Fuzhou Lu, just off The Bund next to the HSBC building, was once a notorious red light district. There are some atmospheric art deco buildings here. Shanghai has one of the world's largest collections of art deco architecture:


37. Nearby streets:


39. Not all of Shanghai is glossy and new:






45. Jin Mao:

46. From Nanjing Lu:



49. People's Square:

50. Shanghai Art Museum on People's Square. This building, the former clubhouse of the Shanghai Racing Club, would look right at home in London:

51. Yet another of Shanghai's art deco monsters:


53. Shanghai Opera House by French architect Jean-Marie Charpentier:

54. Shanghai Municipal Museum. There are incredible city models of Shanghai's future in here:

55. Nanjing Lu again:

56. and again....

57. Shanghai's Pudong Airport is designed by Paul Andreu of Aeroports de Paris. A new terminal of similar size and shape is approaching completion:


59. Tomorrow Square is one of my favourite Shanghai scrapers:

13,693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
^ Oh well it's a matter of personal opinion. I find the HSBC building grander and more imposing. I think the dome on the Port of Liverpool Building is too small. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos of the magnificent banking hall inside the former HSBC building (now the Pudong Development Bank) although you are allowed to go inside and have a look. Liverpudlians often like to compare Pier Head to The Bund. However it's a comparison that flatters Liverpool. Pier Head is just three buildings. The Bund has something like 30 buildings. London's Victoria Embankment is perhaps a better comparison.

1,750 Posts
When will shaghai take over Tokyo and NY for world importance, technology, cleanliness, finance, etc.? Is it time to start learning Chinese? What would you say, if one wanted to learn a language for the future - Japanese or Chinese? I'm leaning towards Japanese as Tokyo is the city of the future and of the moment. I can't see if taking over Tokyo for years in terms of standards of living, cleanliness, etc.. What do you say my friends? Which city would you like to spend more time around - Tokyo or Shanghai?

1,750 Posts
Another quick interjection: Nanjing Lu reminds me of Las Vegas at night. I've never been there, but it looks like a fantastic street at night. I think that the signs are fantastic, but they just don't work during the daytime as they detract from the beauty of the facades - i suppose that is the trade-off every city faces. At least Tokyo's lights arn't disrupting beautiful buildings. How many other streets in Shanghai are all dolled up with neon boards and large video screens -- it starting to get a Hi-Tech Shibuya/Shinjuku feel, wouldn't u say?

13,693 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
^ Nanjing Lu is very impressive but it's the only street I have seen in Shanghai that is covered in neon lights. It's probably the only street where they are permitted. There are generally far fewer neon lights and signboards in Shanghai than in Tokyo or Hong Kong (though Hong Kong's are very trashy in appearance).

Hong Kong has already eclipsed Tokyo as Asia's leading financial centre and Singapore has arguably gone ahead too. I think Hong Kong is destined to consolidate its position and I don't think Shanghai or any of the other mainland Chinese cities can match it because they cannot match Hong Kong's combination of transparent regulation, non-curruptable courts, English language skills, global connectivity, and accumulated financial expertise.

Right now Tokyo is still far ahead in terms of cleanliness and hi-tech. All Japanese cities are clean but the cleanest city in Asia is Singapore. All western cities are also far ahead of Shanghai in terms of technology and cleanliness. Right now you cannot even drink the tap water in Shanghai.

I like Tokyo and Shanghai about the same. Shanghai has more impressive architecture (both old and new) and a more romantic history but Tokyo is still the world's largest and most hi-tech metropolis. Perhaps no other city fulfils that word "metropolis" so well as Tokyo.

For the future there's no doubt that Chinese will be a far more important language than Japanese. Japanese has never been important or useful outside Japan. Japan is already developed. China's population is 10 x larger and China's economy is growing much faster from its lower base and obviously has far greater future growth potential.

1,750 Posts
Yah, I considered that Japanese would loose out to Chinese at some point -- this is the reason I'm not jumping on Japanese just yet. I'm worried that there could be chaos in China someday regarding the people vs. the government.

How do you get around in Shanghai - do many people speak english, or do you speak mandarin?

Its true, Shanghai's architecture is more impressive given its colonial past and its modern boom. I like the fact that it has an old french and british quater, etc.. Pudong looks amazing - whats it like on the street around there?

Must plan on going there sometime. China is a great country in natural beauty, so mandarin would be useful for tourism also
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