Updated: 2016-02-20 03:13
By XU JUNQIAN in Shanghai(China Daily USA)
Modern spaces located within old buildings reflect the gentrification process taking place in Shanghai. PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY
“The business owners and residents of these old buildings today love the history and anecdotes behind the rooms located within. On the other hand, new buildings are often deemed as cold and emotionless,” said Zhang Ming, a professor at the college of architecture and urban planning in Shanghai Tongji University, who added that the renovation of old buildings acts as an important channel for Shanghai to maintain its “metabolism” — sustaining the vitality of the city while getting rid of outdated elements.
Borja Trujillo Rodriguez, chief architect of Base Design and Build — the agency behind Rachel’s and Grains — echoes this sentiment, saying: “Shanghai has such a unique blend of Western and Asian architecture but all of it is quickly being erased by the wrecking ball these days. There are just too many buildings in Shanghai that have been torn down or rebuilt with no respect.”
Repurposing and renovating of old buildings has also proved to be very popular among expats and foreign companies such as BMW or New York’s fast-rising advertising agency Anomaly, many of whom are willing to pay almost twice as much as the city’s average rental fees to live or work in these spaces.
The Spanish architect said that people these days want to “stay connected to Shanghai instead of just being in Shanghai”.
Siu Wing Chu, deputy managing director of Savills Shanghai, predicted in a recent media interview that the renovation of old buildings in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing will start to peak in the near future.
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