When completed in 1932, the Embankment building was the largest apartment building then built in Shanghai, containing 194 apartments over eight floors. (…) It featured an indoor swimming pool with water supplied from an artesian well which also provided water to the apartments. So writes Anne War in ‘Shanghai Architecture‘ (2007). A first installment of a new monthly series [thanks Leo!] of monitoring what is happening in and around the Embankment building 河滨大楼.
Our first month was filled with first impressions: we saw the gradations of the twinkling Pudong skyline; the way Shanghai changes of color, the building in front us [which is also part of the building we live in, the true blessing of a number 5-shaped building] becomes bright; the duskification of the city when it gets darker and life enfolds against the backdrop of illuminated facades. This is the beginning of a fragmented study of a Shanghai 上海 light, of the subtle changes when clouds pas by and transforms the city from a folie of Chinese futurism into a mundane metropolis. It makes us wonder if the Pearl TV Tower is just a knock-off version of an architectural sphere-meets-needle typology.
Then there is the dust, the need to clean our cupboards, kitchen and computers: the effects of a nearby construction site. The fall-out of an urban struggle between containers, trucks, people and the surrounding city. It is all happening right in front of us, on one the few large plots in the center of Shanghai 上海 still open for development. OCT Suhe Creek the billboards say.
It is hard to imagine what will emerge from this seemingly random acts of construction site re-arrangement. Well, that is when one refuses to roam the renderings.
In no particular daily order: a first month in the Embankment building 河滨大楼.
Pictures by movingcities.org