漫步上海武康路, 探索老房子: 武康大楼 (曾名诺曼底公寓) Historical Iconic I.S.S. Normandie Apartments In Former French Concession Area of Shanghai
上海的诺曼底公寓（I.S.S. Normandie Apartments），现为武康大楼，造型仿照第一次世界大战时期的法国诺曼底号。圆弧长型造型特殊，彷若巨轮，路过即被其气势震撼住，是上海最早的外廊式公寓建筑。它是一座典型的法国文艺复兴风格的建筑，一个门廊、一个转角都洋溢着法兰西的风情。由于武康路和淮海路的夹角小，使得武康大楼有着一艘启航巨轮般的独特造型。在外人看来，它曾是老上海文化名流的聚集地，神秘而美丽。然而对于居住在大楼里的人来说，大楼是他们的精神寄托。
Historical isn’t a word you’d usually associate with Shanghai’s architecture. It’s a thoroughly modern city on the surface – multi-storied apartment blocks, sky-high office towers, glass-fronted malls. But if you look a bit closer and you’ll find a whole host of interesting buildings. Shanghai’s colonial past has bequeathed the city with lots of architectural styles, from Neoclassical to Art Deco. Here’s a look at one of the most eye-catching buildings found during my Shanghai trip.
The I.S.S. (International Savings Society Apartments) Normandie Apartments, is a triangular 8-storey landmarked building that sits on Middle Huaihai Road in Shanghai. It was built in 1924, and is now an excellent modern building in Shanghai (Historical Buildings under Municipal Protection). The Normandie Apartment was and still is a favorite with foreigners because of its rustic beauty and unique architecture.
This mansion is a French Renaissance style apartment building. If you look at it from its west side, it just seems a ship, as described as “This oblique inserted long stripe just like a ship just anchored.” Such building appearance was built in memory of a famous French warship during World War I, “Normandie” – this was how this old house was named.
Situated in a much sought-after area of town, the triangular plot of the Normandie is at the junction of five streets and provides a great open vantage point from the balconies - the sleek and "sharp" form of the building jutting out like a battleship into the grand vista created by the large road junction.
Observed from the street level, the walls of the first and second floor present the effect of mock sandstone with cement and sand pasted on. On the third floor, narrow balconies connecting to each other form the waistline of the building. The walls from the third to the seventh floors are covered with red bricks. Windows on the third floor are decorated with pediments. All rooms facing the street have a delicate iron-railed balcony, revealing Classic French-style.
Even with skyscrapers standing around it, the Normandie Apartments is still compelling. More than compelling, i must say that it is awesome as well. The feeling comes from its huge body, or you may well say it is from the years passing by it, or from its location at the intersection of five roads with Wukang Road to the left and Middle Huaihai Road to the right, which gives it a majestic look. It is rare to find five roads converging at one intersection in Shanghai.
After visiting the Normandie Apartments, i suggest that you can also take a walk along the Wukang Road, which is part of one of the best-preserved and most European-styled blocks in Shanghai. Although it is not a long road, it provides a lot to see. Enjoying a history of about 100 years, Wukang Road is Shanghai’s first road which will never be broadened. Not only can the road not be broadened, but also the height of the buildings along the road cannot be altered. Everything will be preserved strictly as it is. There are a great variety of excellent modern buildings on both sides of the road – English country style, classical style, neo-classical style and Mediterranean Garden Villas, etc., all worthy of a closer appreciation.
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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