Architectures in Shanghai

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Updated: 2015-09-23

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Architectures in Shanghai

The Shanghai International Exhibition Center, an example of Soviet neoclassical architecture in Shanghai

The shikumen is a cultural blend of elements found in Western architecture with traditional Lower Yangtze (Jiangnan) Chinese architecture and social behavior. All traditional Chinese dwellings had a courtyard, and the shikumen was no exception. Yet, to compromise with its urban nature, it was much smaller and provided an "interior haven" to the commotions in the streets, allowing for raindrops to fall and vegetation to grow freely within a residence. The courtyard also allowed sunlight and adequate ventilation into the rooms.

The city also has some beautiful examples of Soviet neoclassical architecture. These buildings were mostly erected during the period from the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 until the Sino-Soviet Split in the late 1950s. During this decade, large numbers of Soviet experts poured into China to aid the country in the construction of a communist state, some of them were architects. Examples of Soviet neoclassical architecture in Shanghai include what is today the Shanghai International Exhibition Center. Beijing, the nation's capital, displays an even greater array of this particular type of architecture.

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