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I.M. Pei invited to redesign Paramount Hall

SHANGHAI plans to turn the Paramount Hall, an icon of its colonial past, into a modern jazz theater, officials told Shanghai Daily today.
Internationally eminent architect Ieoh Ming Pei and Hong Kong designer Alan Chan will be invited to design the Paramount Jz Center, a Jing'an District Cultural Bureau official said.
The 80-year-old building on Yuyuan Road near the Jing'an Temple will be restored to its original grandeur and every design detail will be kept intact.
"If the Lincoln Center in New York City is called the center of Western jazz, then the renovated Paramount in Shanghai will be the center of Eastern jazz," said Chen Chao, deputy director of Shanghai Library who is in charge of Paramount's restoration.
Apart from being a dance hall, visitors can also watch movies and enjoy a cabaret show, according to the plan.
Built in 1933, the Art Décor building was the biggest entertainment venue in Shanghai in those days and a popular haunt for the rich and famous, such as Chinese poet Xu Zhimo and warlord Zhang Xueliang. Claire Chennault, commander of the Flying Tigers, and his fiancée Chen Xiangmei held their engagement ceremony there.
The hall is now open to the public from 1pm-4:30pm daily, charging 40 yuan on weekdays and 80 yuan at weekend. After the renovation, the hall will open from 10am to 12:30am, according to the bureau.
The Paramount Hall has undergone several renovations. It was transformed into a theatre and a department store in 1954. Its latest renovation was in 2009 to change it back to a dancing hall.


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