Yang Di/Shanghai Daily news
AS economic growth soared, glass and steel skyscrapers sprouted up all
over Yangpu District. However, an array of old Western buildings from early last
century still stand along the district's Huangpu River waterfront and the
architecture is worth studying and appreciating.
Harmony between the old and
new is being stressed in the district's urban planning vision.
government has pledged to protect 25 groups of old buildings within its
boundaries. Among them are four groups of old public utilities including
Yangshupu Waterworks, Yangshupu Power Plant, Yangshupu Gashouse and Zhabei
While exploring these old buildings, one will be reminded of
history and can enjoy their unique beauty.
The Shanghai Waterworks Co Ltd was incorporated in
London by the British in 1880 and its factory was built in the Shanghai
International Settlement at the time.
On August 1, 1883, Li Hongzhang, who
had been the viceroy of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) from 1870 to 1895, opened
the valve of the water gate, which marked the launch of the first modern water
plant in China. It was the biggest water plant in the Far East in the 1930s and
now has become Yangshupu Waterworks.
Standing in front of the old buildings
that once housed the factory, one will be impressed by their delicate
architectural styles that share the same essence as vintage British castles.
They were constructed with gray brick walls embedded with middle moldings of red
bricks, concrete coigns and crenellated copings on the top of the surrounding
Today, these buildings serve as workshops and office buildings for
Yangshupu Waterworks. In 1989, they were declared "Monuments under the
protection of Shanghai Municipality."
Address: 830 Yangshupu Road
Yangshupu Power Plant
Shanghai Electric Company, founded by the British in
1882, is the predecessor of the present Yangshupu Power Plant. It was the first
electric company in China and also one of the earliest power plants in the
A new era began in 1893 when the company's entire plant and business
was taken over by the Shanghai Municipal Council. The Municipal Council
established its own electric section and built a new power plant at that time.
The operation of the plant started in 1913 right after the completion of the
The original buildings remaining today are Little White
Building, Iron-sheet Workshop and Cycling Water Inlet.
The Little White
Building is a four-story white building built with reinforced concrete, used as
the administrative office building of the plant in the early period. The
Iron-sheet workshop, the generator of the plant, is a large single-floor house
with a steel structure and a brick facade erected in 1912.
buildings were declared "Outstanding Modern Architectures of Shanghai" by the
Shanghai Municipal People's Government in 1994.
Address: 2800 Yangshupu Road
The Gashouse of Shanghai Gas Co Ltd, founded in 1932
and inaugurated in 1934, was the first gashouse in China and the biggest in the
Far East at the time. Presently, it is Yangshupu Gashouse.
The extant old
office building of the factory was designed in a modern architectural style. The
three-story building covers an area of 1,200 square meters, constructed with
bricks and wood and adorned with quoins at the corners and floral designs on its
The apartment building at the north of the office building,
similar in architectural style to its neighbor, has three stories with a
wood-and-brick structure of some 800 square meters. Now it has become the office
building of the Yangshupu Gashouse.
The largest gas tank of the factory
designed and built by the British in the 1930s is the earliest gas tank set up
in Shanghai. It was built with more than 10,000 rivets and can store 20,000
cubic meters of gas.
In 1994, the Gashouse was declared an "Outstanding
Modern Architecture of Shanghai" by the Shanghai Municipal People's Government.
Address: 2524 Yangshupu Road
Waterworks of Zhabei Water and Electricity Company,
built in 1911, was the predecessor of the current Zhabei Waterworks. It was
moved from Hengfeng Road, Zhabei District to the present site in 1926.
Old Office Building created in 1926 is now the warehouse of the factory. The
two-story building with its flying eaves is constructed in a traditional Chinese
style. The Water Tower, also built in 1926, was in an octagonal form with a
gourd-shaped top on the roof. In 1993, a massive restoration was carried out on
the tower that changed its inner and outer structure.
Address: 65 Zhayin Road