Shanghai Reflections: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Search by Mario Gandelsonas

By Mario Gandelsonas

Shanghai-China's greatest business urban and the 5th biggest port within the world-is in the course of a fast revitalization. Shanghai Reflections examines the transformation of the outdated urban right into a sleek city from a extensive cultural and architectural point of view. Architect Mario Gandelsonas charts the city's actual mutation through the years; essays by means of Akbar Abbas and M. Christine Boyer combination architectural and urbanistic issues with insights gleaned from Shanghai's wealthy literary and cinematic traditions. pupil tasks, created in a joint studio subsidized by way of Princeton, Hong Kong, and Tongji universities and reviewed through critics akin to G.C. Spivak, Diana Argest, and Jennifer Bloomer, envision the renaissance of town in concrete phrases. Designed through Michael Rock of 2x4.

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Additional resources for Shanghai Reflections: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Search for an Alternative Modernity

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To take a mundane example, the French Settlement used a 110-volt electric system, while the International Settlement used a 220-volt system. This anomalous state of affairs helped Shanghai develop its own special brand of cosmopolitan urban culture. By the 1920s and 1930s you could see it at once in the different styles of architecture—the Tudor-style villas, Spanish-style townhouses, Russian-style churches, and German-style mansions, together with the internationalism of the buildings on the Bund and, of course, the Shanghainese lanehouses or lilong housing complexes.

Readers avidly followed the lifestyle of their favorite movie stars, song-and-dance stars, or singing hostesses. A new brand of literature also crystallized in Shanghai during the 1930s. Called the New Perceptionists, creators of this literature were intoxicated with the Shanghai’s metropolitan glamour and decadence, the fast-paced rhythms of its dance halls, and the modern spectacle of its cinema, the thrill of gambling, and the alienation of love on the run. They focused specifically on the dance hall and its hostess, turning them into symbols of the liberating energy of Western culture.

14 Yet the Fifth Generation found few urban stories they wanted to illustrate. Most were narrated against the backdrop of a city, alienating and oppressive, degrading and poverty-stricken. Many writers were born in rural areas and do not like the city or feel “filthy” living in cities. C. B O Y E R : A P P R O A C H I N G T H E M E M O RY 61 on these story-tellers for scripts, Fifth Generation directors inevitably fell prey to the same nostalgia, but they did so with a difference; the rural locations they chose were unfamiliar to Chinese eyes and presented a degree of estrangement.

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