The story appears on

Page A5

January 13, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Historic architecture under threat

HISTORIC buildings on the city's protection list are under threat from illegal conversions and too many inhabitants, Shanghai's leading architecture protection experts have warned.

However, thorough renovations and protection require relocating residents, which is difficult due to costs, admitted historic building officials.

In the last citywide investigation, completed in 2006, some 632 sites with 2,138 buildings were listed as important historic architecture.

These represent a wide range of foreign architectural schools, including Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance Revival, as well as mixtures of Western and Chinese styles.

Most were originally homes of the wealthy, but since 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded, many have been used to house ordinary families.

"Many of these buildings face the same problems. They are old and house too many people," said Wang Anshi, an architectural expert and member of the city's historic building protection committee.

"Some residents have further split their apartments to increase rental incomes or built rooms by themselves to create more living space."

"It would be better to have residents relocated or reduced in number to allow thorough refurbishing and protection operations," he said.

But Wang acknowledged that change is difficult.

He said he had seen projects to redevelop historic complexes scrapped after talks on relocation compensation broke down.

In a city government initiative, several historic complexes have been restored after resident relocation and reopened as luxury housing projects and commercial venues, based on investments by developers.

But Ruan Yisan, a local professor and celebrated architectural expert in China, said commercial development should be restrained.

Details reflecting ordinary locals' lives should be retained, instead of turning buildings into high-end clubs and hotels, he argued.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend