[Travel] Shanghai, the Bund: Architecture Museum

Once upon a weekend, I decide to walk along the Bund. While Pudong area breed high rises like pop ups on steroid on how fast they build the area, the Bund is still THE museum of architecture of the world. Sure, there’s the French Concession area in Shanghai and my trip to Harbin and it’s famous pedestrian street Zhongyang Dajie is also considered as the museum street, but the Bund has a larger and various style of high rise architecture.

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Pudong side

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The Bund Miniature (Click here for blog post of Oriental Pearl Tower)

The Bund, or as the Chinese called Waitan (外滩, Outer Waterfront) is previously occupied by the foreigners along the 1.6 km Zhongshan Road, western bank of Huangpu River (黄浦江), facing the skyscrapers of Pudong. It was a British and US settlements and later become International settlements that previously is the center of banks, finance and trades from UK, France, US, Italy, Russia, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and Belgium by the 40’s. The Bund is dubbed the Wall Street of Asia.

After a full restoration for the 2010 Expo, the new face of Shanghai, the Bund, attracts tourists, house several banks, offices and business like bars, restaurants, bars and hotels in the surrounding area. The Bund has 52 architecture buildings from eclectic, romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque, neoclassical, art deco and beaux-art styles.

The Gutzlaff Signal Tower or the Bund Weather Tower or the Bund Signal Tower (外滩信号台). The current structure was a rebuilt by Karl Gützlaff in 1907 in art deco style. Currently a restaurant and bar, Atanu (阿塔努酒吧), with a viewing deck on the 2nd floor overlooking Pudong.

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No. 1 Asia Building (上海亚细亚大楼) originally the McBain Building, built in 1916. Architecture style is Eclectic with the top and bottom baroque and middle part is in modernist.

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No. 2 The Shanghai Club Building (上海总会大楼), the current building is a rebuilt in 1910 from the Men’s Club of British residents of Shanghai or The Correspondent’s Club in 1864. The architecture style is Neo Baroque. Currently the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund.

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No. 3 The Union Building (有利大楼) on the left is built in 1916 with the architecture style of Neo-Renaissance and details in Baroque. Currently houses Three on Bund, a luxurious boutique, art gallery and several fine dining restaurants.

No. 5 The Nissin Building (日清大楼) on the right is built in 1925, bearing the architecture from classical with modern Japanese style.

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No. 6 China Merchants Bank Building (中国通商银行大楼) built in 1907 in victorian gothic style architecture. Currently houses several boutiques and restaurants.

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No. 7 The Great Northern Telegraph Building (大北电报公司大楼) or Telegraph Building (电报大楼) on the center is a rebuilt in 1908 with Renaissance style architecture. Currently Bangkok Bank.

No. 9 Russel & Co. Building (轮船招商局大楼) the red bricked on the left built in 1901 in neo-Classical architecture style.

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No. 12 The HSBC Building (Municipal Government Building) (汇丰银行大楼) currently the main office for Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co. LtdIt was built in 1923 in Neo Classicist style of architecture.

The HSBC bank has 2 bronze lions made in UK, one is roaring (protection) and the other one is calm (security). They are named Stephen and Stitt after A.G Stephen and G H Stitt, a former managers of the HSBC Shanghai branch. Currently Stitt Lion is display in Shanghai Banking Museum and Stephen is in the Museum under Oriental Pearl Tower. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank commissions new replicas for current office in the Bund.

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The Bund Bull, made for the Bund Financial Square, designed by Arturo Ugo di Modica

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No. 13 The Customs House (上海海关大楼), was built in 1927 in Greek-revival Neo-Classicist architecture. The clock tower is following the design from Big Ben of London and become as much symbol as historical buildings in the Bund.

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No. 14 The Bank of Communications Building (交通银行大楼) currently the HQ of Shanghai Municipal Trade Union Council. It was built in 1948, the last building erected in the Bund, with Art-Deco style architecture.

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No. 15 The Russo-Chinese Bank Building (华俄道胜银行大楼) or Central Bank Building (中央银行大楼) was built in 1902 in Italian Renaissance style architecture. Interesting fact is, the building also set a modern trend of architecture at the time (most buildings in 20’s and 30’s) and technology equipment like electric generator to power hot pipes, lighting and elevator. Currently the building is for the Shanghai Foreign Exchange Trading Center.

No. 16 The Bank of Taiwan Building (台湾银行大楼) built in 1924 with architecture in Japanese modern with touches of western influence. The windows looks like Japanese style but the pillars are western. Now it’s Shanghai branch of China Merchants Bank.

No. 17 The North China Daily News Building (字林大楼) or now commonly known as AIA Building (友邦大廈). Completed in 1924, it was previously as the HQ of North China Daily News, the first English publication newspaper in Shanghai until 1951. In 1998, the restored building was bought by AIA Group Limited. The building architecture is Baroque in style with Neo Classical Pillars and Renaissance sculptures.

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No. 18 Chartered Bank Building (麦加利银行 (渣打银行)) is previously for Standard Chartered bank. It was build in 1923 with architecture style of eclecticism of renaissance. Currently houses brands like Cartier and art spaces and/or creative exhibition shops.

No. 19 Swatch Art Peace Hotel (和平饭店) on the left, revamp and rebuilt in 1903 with architecture style of Renaissance.

No. 20 Sassoon House (沙逊大厦(和平饭店北楼)) on the right was built in 1929 with architecture style from modernism-style. It’s now Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai.

The Peace Hotel before comprise of South building which is no. 19 and North building which is no. 20 and only separated by Nanjing Road. Now the current hotel is no. 19 and Fairmont takes no. 20.

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The Side entrance of Swatch Art Peace Hotel (和平饭店)

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No. 23 The Bank of China Building (中国银行大楼) was built in 1937 with the mix of Chinese steel and concrete architecture and design with western influence.

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No. 24 The Yokohama Specie Bank Building (横滨正金银行大楼) was built in 1924 in Japanese modern neo classical architecture style (again, the Japanese style windows). It’s now ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd., 中国工商银行).

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No. 26 The Yangtze Insurance (扬子水火保险公司大楼(扬子大楼)) was completed in 1920 in eclectic style architecture. Currently occupied by the Bund Branch of Agricultural Bank of China.

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No. 27 The Jardine Matheson Building (怡和洋行大楼) was completed in 1922. The architecture style following Beaux-Arts. Currently house prominent brand such as Rolex on the whole first floor, make it one of the largest Rolex store in Asia.

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No. 28 Glen Line Steamship Building (格林邮船大楼) built in 1920 with architecture from the Renaissance style. Currently it is the Shanghai Broadcasting Board.

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No. 29. Banque de l’Indochine Building (东方汇理银行大楼), completed in 1914 with French Renaissance architecture and Baroque arches. Currently Shanghai branch of the Everbright Bank of China.

No. 33 The Former Consulate-General of the United Kingdom (英国驻上海总领事馆) or33 Waitanyuan (外滩源33)

The buildings for the Former UK Consulate and British Supreme Court of China and Japan. The Supreme Court building was completed in 1871 and the Consulate completed in 1873. Architecture style in English Renaissance Revival. After the buildings change hands a few times, the Shanghai Government started with renovation and preservation in the mid 2000, including enforcing the building structure and the foundation. Currently renamed 33 Waitanyuan (外滩源33) as a function place for entertainment and dining managed by Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels. Half of the ownership belongs to Shanghai Peninsula Hotel. The hotel use part of the land and one of the building as restaurant.

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Shanghai Peninsula Hotel

The Monument to the People’s Heroes (上海市人民英雄纪念塔). It was built in 1993 to remember the people who have lost their lives fighting natural disasters.

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I only spend a 1/2 an hour in Nanjing rd. Too crowded during the long weekend.

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Finally spot the Shanghai Tour Bus. The price is 30 CYN for 24 hours and 50 CYN for 48 hours. It make sense if I just transit in Shanghai and wants to see some of the tourists spots. Otherwise, Bus and the Metro is enough for me.

Night shot of the Bund:

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Source: “A Walking Tour Shanghai: Sketches of the city’s architectural treasures By Gregory Byrne Bracken”, The Bund, Shanghai, Travel China Guide, Wikipedia, Tour Beijing, Project Restoration of 33 Waitanyuan, Tales of Old China: Shanghai



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