Shanghai Spaces: Lower Suzhou Creek III

By Bryan • china, photography, shanghai, urban planning • 5 Aug 2009

Looking across to the north bank from the isolated green boardwalk.  Those particular units have probably been there for over 100 years and are a good example of residential units that use to exist along the river.  Don’t get nostalgic tough, those units are really poor condition and probably should be torn down.  What they are replaced with is the more relevant question…and who lives there…

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Changing bridge architecture to a more future and modern inspired designs. I’m not terribly partial to these.  I like diversity in design, but some elements work well when they are standardized.

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On top of the future bridge looking eastward toward the slabs I just walked through. The Radisson Hotel which is on the north side of People’s Square (and a good viewpoint) is the UFO-topped building flanked by two apartment slabs. 

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Let the gentrification begin.  Just before the Nan Bei Elevated Bridge (and almost directly south of the train station) is the largest concentration of colonial warehouses along lower Suzhou Creek.  Which is grand total of about three.  Two on the south and one on the north.  Apparently, the area is collectively known as the Suzhou Creek Art District.  IMGP0066

The “Creek” art gallery.  Built in 1902, the former flour factory was the tallest building in Shanghai at the time.  I actually visited this venue before, in 2006 for some kind of swanky premiere.  Several floors of galleries with a lounge/restaurant on the top floor, if I recall correctly,  I wasn’t paying attention to the surroundings, or even where it was at the time – I didn’t go in the buildings this time. IMGP0067

The gallery itself is two buildings bisected by a tight lane down the center.IMGP0070 IMGP0071

Walking through down the lane one is presented with the non-gentrified and and functional alley way of the litong variety.    IMGP0076

I elevated myself up on to the Nan Bei highway to get a rooftop perspective of the building and it’s surroundings.  The blue roof is some kind of modern warehouse.  The litong housing is in quite poor condition and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is slated for demolition, although it would be nice to see it restored, something akin to the litong restorations on the south side of the creek.  IMGP0082

Looking down onto the street from the highway, the art warehouse can be seen at the rear of the image.

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Shanghai traffic at its worst.  Crossing the Nan Bei elevated highway bridge looking southward into Puxi. The high rises I believe are along Nanjing West Road….maybe around Jing An temple?  Not sure exactly. IMGP0091

Shanghai “Tequila” warehouses on the south side of the creek. IMGP0093

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Restored litong housing units on the south side behind the tequila warehouse. A lot of the south side has this particular type of architecture interspersed between the towers.  The towers in the litong.  Despite the apparent high value of the real estate, the south side of Suzhou Creek retains a very working class feel, with scores of small business, many selling industrial and construction material/machinery.   IMGP0096

I found the planning efforts along lower Suzhou Creek to be quite fragmented in general.  Early projects are very visible in their slab like monstrosity.  While newer efforts are aesthetically better, they didn’t connect well to the Creek itself.  The Bund 33 project will be interesting to see in it’s completion as it might provide a more defined entrance to Suzhou Creek and I would like to see what is planned for the Si Hang Warehouse.  It’s a good space, it’s a real and genuine space (contrast that to Xin Tian Di) but requires more continuity and connection.

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