The history of Xintiandi, where the West meets the East.

Shanghai Living

Look up and see the beauty that is Xintiandi.

A true trendsetter for what is to come from a growing city dissimilar to the rest of any metropolitans around the world. What must be acknowledged is Xintiandi is where the west meets the East in historical and modern architecture.

To justly grasp a true acknowledgement and what Xintiandi is really about, one must first look at the varied past, explore the present and imagine what Xintiandi beings to the table when looking at the future for building design in China.

19th and 20th Century Shanghai.

The Opium War in the Early 19th Century saw British forces temporarily hold Shanghai until the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 and Treaty of Bogue in 1943, which was signed allowing British access into many cities including Shanghai as well as most famously Hong Kong. The Treaty of Wang Xia by the Sino-American forces became the first of a series of unequal treaties signed by China with a number of foreign powers.

French forces was also able to open trade connections through the Red River, which flows through Tong Jing, one of the provinces of Annam, a vassal state under the protection of the government. In 1884 France bombarded Fuzhou and declared an order of neutrality as well as opting out of the Shanghai Municipal Council. Instead it maintained its own French Concession within the City of Shanghai in the Lu Wan District as well as a number of other cities including Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Honkou, declaring them neutral zones in case any danger to its settlements and inhabitants in the future. These inhabitants both American and European were known as Shanghai-Landers.

During World War II the Japanese occupation of Shanghai become the only post in the world that would allow people to enter without a passport or visa. As a result there was an influx of around 20,000 Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany, Austria, Poland and Lithuania. They lived in Shanghai until 1948 when the State of Israel was established. This influx of refugees lived in the Hankou district and had disastrous sanitation, scant employment and faced near-starvation, consequently was known as the Shanghai Ghetto.

Architecture in Shanghai

Western architecture derives mainly from Greek architecture and Over the hundreds and thousands of years there have been various in style with buildings across the world. Some beautiful examples of sales in architecture can be found particularly in Shanghai which was built during the 19th and 20th century. These features of Western European architecture change over time and can denote periods in which particular techniques and styles were most popular.

Within these styles of architecture over time we see the use of a number of key features (especially streaming from the Classical period including forms of orders scubas Tuscan, Ionic, Doric, Composite and Corinthian.

Classical Architecture

Classical Architecture in Shanghai
Classical Architecture is a combination of both Greek and Roman design and is the basis for many architectural movements that followed with variations in the design. A prime example of classical architecture in Shanghai can be found at the Asian Oil Building or Asiatic Petroleum Building, Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, the Russo-Asiatic Bank and the Yokohama Specie Bank.

Renaissance Architecture in Shanghai

Developed and implemented in between the 15th – 17th century, his type of architecture was a revival and development of designs mainly from Roman and Greek architecture, which also represents the culture of time.

The facades were generally surmounted by a pediment or cornice. The centrally placed door is marked by a feature such as a balcony. All decorative details are carved with great precision. The best examples of Renaissance architecture in Shanghai include the Palace Hotel and The Banquette de L’Indo-Chine.

Baroque Architecture in Shanghai

Baroque concerns itself with color, sculptural values and intensity characteristics. Important features of baroque architecture include much use of ornaments; external facade which is often characterised by a dramatic central projection. Prime examples of this sort of architecture include the Union Building, Asiatic Petroleium Building and the Banque de L’Indo-Chine.

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