Details

Keywords Change this

French Renaissance

Project timeline

1922 – 1924

Type

Residential

Location Change this

1836–1858 Middle Huaihai Road
Shanghai
China

Also known as Change this

Wukang Mansion

Architect Change this

Wukang Building Change this

Shanghai, China
by László Hudec Change this
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Description Change this

The Wukang Building is a protected historic apartment building in the former French Concession area of Shanghai. It was designed by László Hudec and completed in 1924. It is located at the southern end of Wukang Road, on the corner with Middle Huaihai Road, in Shanghai's Xuhui District. It is in the western part of the former French Concession area of the city. The eight-storey building is in the French Renaissance style and is the oldest veranda-style apartment building in Shanghai. The concrete building is 30 metres tall, occupies a land area of 1,580 square metres, and has a floor area of 9,275 square metres. There were originally 63 apartments, 30 servants' quarters, and three elevators. Built to commemorate the Normandie, a World War I-era battleship, the building looks like a ship from one direction. The unusual wedge-shape of the building is reminiscent of the Flatiron Building in New York.

Dwellers

Originally was built for Western employees of companies based in the foreign concessions, the building was bought by Kung Ling-wei, daughter of the wealthy banker H. H. Kung, in 1942. Kung moved into the building, which also became popular with many celebrities of Shanghai, centre of China's film industry during the Republic of China era. Residents included famous actors and actresses Wu Yin, Wang Renmei, Qin Yi, Zhao Dan, Sun Daolin, Wang Wenjuan, Shangguan Yunzhu, and actor/director Zheng Junli. Sun Daolin lived in the building for 30 years with his wife Wang Wenjuan, until his death in 2007.

The Diving Board

During the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), the Red Guards renamed the building Anti-Revisionist Tower, but local residents referred to it as "The Diving Board" because of the dozens of suicides by intellectuals and others who were persecuted as "state enemies". One of the most famous suicides was by the Chinese film star Shangguan Yunzhu, who jumped out of her seventh-floor window in November 1968 after being badly beaten. The building has a local reputation for being haunted by the ghosts of people who committed suicide there. Wukang Mansion is one of Shanghai's historic buildings under municipal protection. In 2008 it was restored by the government of Xuhui District.

Sources

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