Buildings form a city. When people live in here, it brings the city a unique character. So when we talk about the foreign spirit of the magical city”Shanghai”, we can experience it from every lane and even every French paulownia. Of course, what best represents this kind of enthusiasm is the ArtDeco architectural style which was popular in Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s.
@Photo Credit by Yiran Ding on Unsplash
From the moment of its birth, Art Deco style has avid followers, and a large number of fans are immersed in this elegant, fashionable and modern style. In the 1930s, ArtDeco rushed to Shanghai, and the city began to have its specialty. Majestic Theatre, Paramount Ballroom, Enpaia Building, Juxingcheng Bank, Mainland Shopping Mall, Shanghai Grand Theatre… all these architectures, which perfectly combines the unique, stylish, avant-garde, bold…and minimalist style with the modern free spirit has established the unique “modern” trend of Shanghai, which tells Shanghai apart from other cities of the world.
The brick-concrete structure is fake four-story, sitting north and facing South. The façade is symmetrical, the middle part is flat vouchers, only the bricks on the wall have changed. On both sides of the architecture, there’re continuous corridors with coupon post, double semi-circle coupons, whose voucher base is a Corinthian column. The roof is covered with the red tile slope, and the middle elevation is higher than the roof to form a gable, with anti-bending lines of Baroque Style. The exterior brick wall and the decorations with bricks are now still fashionable and modern even though more than 100 years have passed.
Peace Hotel, adjacent to East Nanjing Road on the Bund, formerly known as the Huaying Hotel, also known as the Shaxun Building, is one of the most famous fancy restaurants in mainland China. This building, designed by British merchants the Palmer & Turner Group, covers more than 5,000 square meters and costs more than 5 million silver dollars. The building is in the shape of an A, with 13 floors in the front and 9 floors in the back, one of which is underground. The architectural style has a high-rise architectural style of the Chicago School of the United States. The exterior of the building is decorated with granite and the structure is simple and clear. What’s the most attractive is that there is a 19-meter-high dark green pyramid-shaped roof above the tower, which is covered with corrugated copper (the famous pyramid spire). This was purposely built by the discovery of the tomb of the Tutankhamun Pharaoh in Egypt in 1922, so the height of the entire building reached 77 meters.
The Broadway Building was built by British Commercial Real Estate Corporation and designed by Fraser. Sitting north and facing south, the plane of the mansion is X-shaped, whose double-layer aluminum steel frame structure is 22 layers, and there’re two floors in the underground. That’s why it is commonly called “twenty-four floors”. Art Deco is combined with American modern high-rise architecture. The façade of the Broadway Building is a medium-high two-low drop-down composition, which is collected layer by layer from the 11th floor. All the top edges are decorated with a uniform geometric continuous decorative pattern with rich outlines. The bottom of the outer wall is a dark green high-grade granite veneer with a light brown Taishan brick veneer. The window skirt is partially patterned and the color is harmonious. Broadway Building is an early representative of Shanghai’s high-rise buildings that tends to be modernism and is also a landmark in Shanghai.
Founded in 1928, Grand Cinema has a history of more than 80 years and is known as “the First Theater in Eastern countries”. The exterior of the cinema is three-dimensional, mostly inlaid in black marble. A milky white translucent square lamp stands above the left side of the entrance, which is the symbolic sign of the cinema. The lounge is shaped like cashew with a circular fountain in the middle. The white waterspout is constantly ejected from the pool, which is very dazzling under the bright light. The audience hall has two floors, with a total of 2016 soft seats. Creamy flat top in the hall with gold wavy ceiling trim, which is the purest and latest French-styled architecture.
The Paramount Ballroom, designed by an architect named Yang Xiyu , represents the latest trend of architectural design in China and the world in the 1930s. The building has three floors. The ground floor is the kitchen and storefront. The second floor is the dance floor and banquet hall. The largest dance floor is more than 500 square meters. The floor of the dance floor is supported by automobile steel plates. When people are dancing inside, they will feel the bottom shaking, so it is called the spring floor. The background of the brand of Paramount is the shape of a four-layered overlapping crown which creates a sense of spatial layering and repetitive decorative aesthetics by overlapping layers. The addition of neon lights enhances the decorative beauty. The facade of the building is also very interesting. The building is vertically decorated with straight lines, which is pretty simple and clear. And laterally it is not simply decorated by circular arc lines, but decorated by a combination of a convex arc line and a concave circular arc line, forming a convex and concave decorative effect.
There are many old-fashioned foreign houses built in 1913 on Liyang Road. They have the features of Victorian red brick buildings and represent the typical style of the early Shanghai modern residential buildings. The façade of the houses adopts a vaulted porch, a four-slope mountain roof, a double-sloping tiger window on the red tile roof, a red brick wall in the clear water. The workship of bricks is exquisite and each window is equipped with wooden window shades, which is complete of British style.