上海 - Shanghai

 

Current flat in a courtyard on Anting Lu
(Route Kaufmann of the French Concession)

 

This flat is located in a old house, at the end of a small street (Nong) in Chinese. The house was a large family house with a garden. My flat is located on the upper floor (1st floor for Europeans), overlooking the garden.

The house was occupied by one family when built. It was very luxurious and one can see still traces of the this luxury. Pictures on each sides are the stairs to go to the upper floor.
The staircase has not been well maintained over the years, but one can still see the traces of the hooks for the carpet that was covering it. Windows are steal windows, typical of Shanghai's building from that period. The wall of the corridor are now white, and were possibly white originally.
These majestous place is now very badly treated by the down stairs inhabitants. They were given out for nearly free to the heroes of the liberation war and party cadres. Six appartments were made out of this house, which was clearly not designed for it.

One can see that their was some attempt to modernise the building and install new equipment (electricity, water pipes, phone, TV cables). However, they have most often been done without any care for the treasures that this house is. Poeple just drill and carve where they need, and put cables and pipes wherever they need. It's not only about money, I think often they just could not be bothered to care more. Even new houses are often repaired (?) like this in China. Safety or esthetics are not really an issue...
Fortunately, a lot of features have survived the time and lack of care. The picture left is a close-up on the entrance door, that is clearly the original one (though it's not in a really good state). Sometimes, one just needs to look closely to see a lot of details that are just hidden.
It's amazing that those houses have survived without nearly any care for about 70 years (like the kitchen furniture on picture right).

Pictures of my flat are on the next page.