June 2010 - We ventured to explore the area for 8-days during the WORLD EXPO.
Besides enjoying the wonders of Shanghai, we also ventured out of town on two day-trips to Hangzhou and Suzhou organized and led on our behalf by Luxury Concierge China.
Not too long ago, China was defined by the color RED plus all the drabs of grays and greens. Today, the People's Republic of China (PRC) - or at least Shanghai - is defined by color... and the more the better... the brighter the best! There is almost nothing left of drab to be seen in Shanghai save for the muted tones and no-neon in the center of the Old Town area. Day and night you can't help but feel the vibrancy of the city as conveyed by color!
No 2 The Bund - former Shanghai Club
THE BUND and BEYOND
As evening arrives, lights on the buidlings comes on. Here view south along the famous stretch called The Bund. Notice all the Chinese red flags fluttering atop each of the building tops. This view is from the roof terrace of the new Peninsula Hotel - the first new building on The Bund in almost 80 years or so.
From the Peninsula, tourist boats on the Huangpu River and mega-towers of the Pudong area light up the scene.
The Bund - the stretch of late 19th and early 20th century buildings in the neo-classical and other styles - is probably one of the finest collections of historic commerical buildings anywhere, as it so defines the powers of governments and commerce that were in play in Shanghai. This image is from Wikipedia on "The Bund." The entire Bund streetscape and river promenade recently reopened in March after a massive rebuilding which included a new tunnel for traffic under the surface.
Part of the original British Consulate complex at the northern end of the Bund, it is nearing the end of renovations. Several buildings will be then managed by the Peninsula Hotel - the hotel is the modern building to the right in the photo. The foreground is a new public park.
Just over the Suzhou Creek from the Bund, sits the Astor House Hotel. First completed in 1858, this facade dates from 1910.
Traditional interior detailing is in stark contrast to the many luxury new hotels around the city.
One of the key reasons for this journey was to see the 2010 World Expo taking place from May 1st thru October 31st. The pre-opening photos looked amazing of the various national pavilions - it looked like a "must see" event.
To view the special gallery on the Expo Pavilions, click on one of the above photos or the link below.
Picture of Birch appeared 12/16/2010 which was identified as Chas Miller.
THE FRENCH CONCESSION Exploring the area via walking, looking at art and shopping
One of the best places to start seeing examples of preservation of historic architecture are high-end retail shops. Specialty retailers in cities around the world seem to always gravitate to the best of the past and do it up in the best of the present. Likewise, art galleries and dealers tend to pick more interesting spaces and locations, contemporary or historic, to display the works.
796 HUAI HAI ROAD MIDDLE (the four photos above and below this test) - this was once a private compound for a family and their business. The family was house in the building to the left and the business in the right, and connected in the middle by corridors. Gardens were an important part as well, some of which have been restored or newly created. In the back garden now stand a new gallery building for ShanghaiART. In the left hand house is Alfred Dunhill, the right house is Vacheron Constantin, and the top is the Kee private members club. More can be seen at 796 HUAI HAI LU
In the garden of 796 is this lovely private setting with the most amazingly created artwork out of tile pieces laid as pavement.
This new garden paving design, has been painstakingly put into place piece by little piece.
It is also an area where many don't have full indoor plumbing and many other conveniences considered a norm in a city today. Meanwhile, much remains of the town and the small twisting lands. However, the newer city elements are slowly moving in. Once there was a wall surrounding the entire area of Old Town - now just a small section remains.
The old outside wall of the city is seen here in this small section wihch is now part of the Dajing Pavillion / Baiyun Temple complex
We approach what was once a grand house in Old Town. Now it is used as a police station - but could someday be restored.
Our first peek inside the walled courtyard. Hard to imagine what it was once like...
If these walls could talk... Imagining what once was, what went on here during the Cultural Revolution times and following, and then to today...
Another once grand residence, now burned out, bricked up, and awaiting another day in the future perhaps...
Fragments from the past outside a workmans shop - perfhaps destined to a hotel lobby or private collection?
Just a couple blocks from the Old Town is People's Square. Here is the Shanghai Museum built in the the early 1990's.
The Pudong area which once was noting but one and two story warehouse structures and shipyards, has become the new booming area of the tallest buildings and newest shops. Apple just opened it's largest store in this area just after we were here.
Artist Rendering - Currently under contruction is the new Shanghai Tower, which will be the second tallest in the world when completed in 2014.
We stayed in the tall building to the right, The Shanghai World Financial Center - the one with the opening at the top. This tower by KPF is 101 stories. The new tallest tower is by Gensler and will be 128 stories.
We traveled by high-speed express train to Hangzhou. There with Michelle Blumenthal of Luxury Concierge China, we went to explore a house museum that has only opened to the public somewhat recently. This property was for one family and constructed starting in 1872.
The Residence of Hu Xue Yan
A full block complex of intertwined buildings, gardens, water features and rocks.
Stay tuned... I'm still building these pages on this trip so more images being added each day...