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November 23, 2019

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Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co Ltd

In 1930 Gonda renovated the 19th-century building of Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co Ltd on Nanjing Road, which was at one time the largest foreign-owned department store in modern Shanghai.

An attractive reconstructed plan of a British department store Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co Ltd, on Nanjing Road, was released by the North China Herald on August 10, 1930.

The big reconstruction in 1930 planned to bring “the premises of this well-known Emporium into line with the most up-to-date buildings of Europe.”

“For the purpose of obtaining a maximum of daylight and natural ventilation, the entire outside of the whole building will be changed, the masonry relieved from the heavy and out-of-date ornamentation and nearly the entire wall space opened up and provided with modern steel casement windows. In harmony with this structural alteration the refacing of the building will be executed along the modern lines of the architectural style which now has been generally adopted abroad.

“Simplicity in design, dignity and effectiveness will be the keynote of this remodeled building,” the 1930 North China Herald report describes.

However the building was unfortunately engulfed in fire, three months after the opening in 1930. In 1955 it was taken over by the Chinese government and turned into the state-owned Shanghai Huiluo Co Ltd, and it has been ever since.


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