With the Expo in 33 days and counting, the pace of demolition, renovation, and renewal in this city has only continued its forward sprint. While cleaning up for the Expo has been the primary motivation behind the large-scale demolition of old buildings and neighborhoods during the past few years, many have simply fallen victim to Shanghai’s rapid pace of urbanization. Those of us who live here are pretty immune by now to the daily sounds of construction and the sight of historical structures and traditional longtangs being torn down to make way for gleaming new residential or commercial buildings… but it still hurts to see it happen so wantonly.
Adam Minter (Shanghai Scrap)
So in order to keep the memory of Shanghai’s ever disappearing past alive, here we feature three recent places that have undergone the wrecking ball:
1. Dongjiadu, an old lower middle-class neighborhood south of the Bund, is disappearing. Dongjiadu is one of the oldest areas of Shanghai – some of the buildings might date back three centuries, writes Adam Minter. Once filled with local tenements, nowadays it seems as if “a giant eraser has been rubbed across whole city blocks,” says Minter.
2. Shanghai Daily covers a story about a group of residents banding together to try to save a 150-year old building. One of our intrepid Shanghaiist Flickr users, avezink (from which the top pictures is from) had gone to take some pictures earlier in the year and enlightened us on the House’s unique history: “A marine merchant Shen, from Fujian, had this residence built in 1860. To pay tribute to the origins of his fortune, Shen had his house face not to the south, but the east, toward the sea.”
Now Shen Yisheng’s mansion has been halfway demolished in preparation for a real estate development. The building features unusual oriental and western architectural elements that residents say is unique in the city. Demolition on the building has currently been halted while the Huangpu District Relics Protection Office makes a final decision.
Paul French (China Rhyming)
The historical Jesuit Recoleta Mission on Xiangshan Lu and Sinan Lu has had its stained glass windows smashed out and architectural detailing torn down. The building is now a migrant worker dormitory for a nearby construction site. “It’s a shame to think that those stained glasses survived the Cultural Revolution to be smashed to pieces in the run up to Expo,” writes French.