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October 20, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Wrecker's ball hits ancient home

A 150-YEAR-OLD downtown building was torn down yesterday even though cultural heritage authorities stopped demolition work on it last weekend.

The three-story wooden structure known as Shen's House, hidden behind old homes in Huangpu District, was torn down by a developer yesterday to make way for a new construction project.

The Cultural Heritage Bureau of Huangpu stopped the demolition work last weekend after learning it was one of the city's oldest homes and built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

"It was too late for the bureau to stop the demolition as the majority of the structure had already been destroyed," Zhou Lijun, an official with the bureau, told Shanghai Daily.

The heritage bureau said it was awaiting final approval to list the house as a protected building. Since the building had yet to be listed as a protected cultural relic, the bureau could not take legal action to punish the developer.

"The developer should at least ask cultural heritage experts to evaluate it before tearing it down," said Lu Jiansong, an expert with the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

Some delicate carvings of flowers could still be seen on pillars and beams and other relics when demolition work was stopped on Monday, but only bricks and stones could be seen at the site yesterday.

Zhou said the only thing they can do now is relocate some important parts of the building to preserve them and eventually exhibit them to the public.

Residents living nearby said workers had stopped working at the site for several days after local media outlets reported the story, but tore down the rest of the building in a hurry yesterday.

Shen's House was built in 1860 by Shen Yisheng, a shipping merchant from Fujian Province. It was one of the most luxurious homes in the city at the time.

Wu Jiang, a professor with the College of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tongji University, expressed regret the building was destroyed.

"The developer could have preserved the building and combined it with new structures to be built in the area."


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