Architectures in Shanghai

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Updated: 2015-09-23

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Architectures in Shanghai

Renovated shikumen lanes in Xintiandi, now a high-end restaurant and shopping center.

In recent years, a large number of architecturally distinctive, even eccentric, skyscrapers have sprung up throughout Shanghai. Notable examples of contemporary architecture include the Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Grand Theatre in the People's Square precinct.

One uniquely Shanghainese cultural element is the shikumen (石库门) residences, which are two or three-story townhouses, with the front yard protected by a high brick wall. Each residence is connected and arranged in straight alleys, known as a nongtang (弄堂), pronounced longdang in Shanghainese. The entrance to each alley is usually surmounted by a stylistic stone arch. The whole resembles terrace houses or townhouses commonly seen in Anglo-American countries, but distinguished by the tall, heavy brick wall in front of each house. The name "shikumen" literally means "stone storage door", referring to the strong gateway to each house.

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