Shanghai 2015 - 1933 Laochangfang

One of the buildings that all of us wanted to visit in Shanghai is 1933 Laochangfang. This is an old slaughterhouse completed in 1933 - with design by a British firm Balfours. Like many of the old industrial structures in China - this has now been re-purposed as a lifestyle venue with shops, cafes and restaurants.

The architecture is very utilitarian and probably mostly dictated by the functions of the building - yet it contains many thoughtful design touches that make it compelling to view and experience.

The most striking feature is a large number of ramps and bridges which connect many parts of the building. These are meant to move animals through the building in preparing them for slaughter - but today they feel like deliberately designed circulation spaces.

The restoration work has been done very well. Much of the original building has been left untouched - and the new insertions were added with much sensitivity to the existing architecture. This building is one of the rare wonders of utilitarian architecture that is more compelling today than when it was serving its original purpose.


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