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September 27, 2011

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Historic home plans slammed

AN ambitious plan to reassemble historic buildings dismantled to make way for Metro line construction has been dismissed as "meaningless" by an expert.

Workers have carefully taken down four 80-year-old wooden and brick structures featuring both Eastern and Western architectural styles on downtown Nanjing Road.

Items such as windows, doors, fireplaces and handrails have been stored away and photographs taken of design details, said an official with the Jing'an Construction Decoration Company, which is in charge of the project.

The structures are due to be rebuilt on their original locations once underground construction work on Metro lines 12 and 13 is completed in two years, he said.

However, Li Kongsan, an official with the Shanghai Cultural Relics Management Commission, yesterday said the project was "expensive and meaningless," because the buildings could not be restored to their original state.

"There are huge costs and the buildings are damaged in the process," said Li.

Li said the city should avoid dismantling historic buildings in its efforts to protect the architectural heritage. "This should be used only as a last resort," he said.

The buildings were constructed in the 1930s in a famous private garden belonging to a businessman surnamed Zhang.

There Dr Sun Yat-sen, the leader of China's republican revolution, made a speech and Chinese martial arts master Huo Yuanjia fought foreign boxers.

One building became the office of the food bureau of Jing'an District, while another was home to a department of the city's commercial committee. The other two buildings were homes.

"We decided to take this complicated method to preserve the buildings because of their historic and cultural importance, as well as architectural value," the Jing'an Construction Decoration Company official said.

He said senior construction workers had been invited to guide restoration, while modern technology, such as infrared, is also employed.

Panels with hand-carved designs have been cut from walls and samples of construction materials collected, a worker on the project said.

The city government used a similar method to restore a historic building where the second National Congress of the Communist Party of China took place in 1922.


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