Architectural recycling

Updated: 2016-02-20 03:13

By XU JUNQIAN in Shanghai(China Daily USA)

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Architectural recycling

Modern spaces located within old buildings reflect the gentrification process taking place in Shanghai. PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

“In cities like Shanghai and Beijing, it is unnecessary to knock down a building and build a new one from scratch. With the evolution of lifestyles, architectural design will naturally change accordingly to suit today’s needs,” said Shen Minkai, co-founder of Yicheng Investments, the parent company of Base Design and Build.

Shen noted that Shanghai has no need for more new buildings. Instead, he believes that the city, which has a real estate market that is as saturated as those in London or New York, should look to “reactivate the space of thousands of existing buildings and repurpose them for modern needs”.

Yicheng Investments, which has completed a total of 22 projects covering 130,000 square meters since its inception in Shanghai in 2008, is not the only one eyeing to keep up with the trend of recycling bricks and mortar.

In December last year, Shanghai startup accelerator Feimalv unveiled the city’s first building that is dedicated to entrepreneurs’ co-working needs. The company had renovated a six-storey shopping mall that was closed down due to poor management and named the new space 5iCENTER. The facility allows a maximum of 40 startups to work within.

Foreign companies have also been involved. Six years ago, Singaporean hospitality group Unlisted Collection had entered the Chinese market with its successful opening of The Waterhouse at South Bund. The company had renovated a 1930s warehouse and factory located at the Cool Docks area, turning it into a hip hotel that recreates the unique vibe inside Shanghai lane houses by ingeniously blending the private and public spaces. The hotel also houses the acclaimed restaurant Table No. 1 by Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton.


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