Waitanyuan – meaning ‘headstream of the Bund’ – lies behind the northern sweep of the Bund where Suzhou Creek meet the Huangpu River. This long-neglected historic area is in the process of a long-term urban renewal project under the guidance of British starchitect David Chipperfield. Due for completion in 2014, it will encompass luxury residences, offices, retail, hotels and museums. Here we explore Shanghai’s heritage, especially around the Bund.
|View from the top of the Rockbund Photo Credit|
The centrepiece of the six-acre Rockbund project is a clutch of heritage building between Yuanmingyuan Road and Huqiu Road, running parallel to the Bund. First to open was the Rockbund Art Museum in the revamped former Royal Asiatic Society building dating from 1932. The six-floor Art Deco gallery hosts regular art, installation and photography exhibitions and has a cute café and terrace on the top floor.
A line of restored buildings strung along the newly pedestrianised Yuanmingyuan Road date from between 1924 and 1933.
These eclectic facades feature bold Art Deco and neoclassical styling and unique Chinese influences.
Directly opposite are the grounds of the former British Consulate, accessible from the Bund side (ignore the severe looking guards – it is actually a public park). Although the residences, now private clubs and event venues, are off limits the gardens are delightful to stroll in and are home to several century-old trees. As you swing around to the main Bund promenade note the former Shanghai Rowing Club dating from 1940s, offset by spectacular views of Art Deco monoliths on the opposite bank of Suzhou Creek.
Rockbound Art Museum; 20 Huqiu Road; tel 3310 9985; Tue-Sun 10am-6pm