Earlier this year despite pleas from architectural experts a typically vandalistic real estate company demolished the 106-year-old Shanghai Rowing Club to make way for new construction. The philistines of the Shanghai New Huang Pu Real Estate Co Ltd won again (when do they not in Shanghai to be honest?) and the structure was torn down- over a century of history gone in the flash of a bulldozer. Ruan Yisan, one of the the city’s foremost experts in historic architecture protection, went to the construction site and appealed for the building to be protected. But the interior of the club had already been destroyed. The club is being torn down in a project entitled the ‘Bund Origin’ (no sense of irony intended by the developer here!!), a ‘reformation’ of the Bund area.Too disgusting for words really.
Ruan had told them that the building needed to be preserved for its historic and cultural value. The swimming pool inside the building was one of the earliest sports facilities in modern China. Chang Qing, an architecture professor at Tongji University and a member of the expert panels for the design of the project, backed Ruan telling the Shanghai Daily that “It’s not difficult to modify the plan”. Needless to say and typically these pleas fell on the deaf ears of the vandals, they couldn’t be bothered to modify and just tore it down.
Anyway here’s a postcard showing what the rowing club looked like in its glory days – now gone to the cry of ‘Better City, Better Life, Ever More Shopping Malls’. One day Shanghai will wake up and realise it’s destroyed so much wonderful heritage and replaced it with ephemeral architectural crap for the sake of a few quick bucks. As ever – so sad!! Bastards. And so Shanghai becomes steadily a little less interesting and unique.