ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Shanghai 2016

POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China

Located in Jiading District, a suburb northwest of central Shanghai, Poly Grand Theatre stands proudly by Yuanxiang Lake.  The 330 x 330 x 113 foot theatre box is wrapped in a transparent skin of glass, with tunnels and footbridges puncturing the simple geometry to establish bold visual statements on its elevations.  This simple but striking architecture is one of the newest completed projects by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

It took us quite some time taking the metro to reach Jiading.  Once arrived at the closest metro station, we hopped on a taxi to reach the theatre.  Situated right by Yuanxiang Lake, the theatre stood out as a centerpiece in the new town among other construction sites and new condominiums.  We took our time to walk around the building, hoping to see the lighting effect after dusk.  It was about 5:30pm when we got there.  After a short tour of the building exterior spaces, we decided to wait on an observation bridge in front of the theatre.  We waited for about an hour until 7pm, then we figured out that the lights might not come on as there didn’t seem to have any performance happening that evening despite it was a Saturday night.  We returned to the theatre entrance and went straight to the brightly lit ticket entrance.  The staff inside confirmed our worry.  Since there was no scheduled performance that night, the lighting effect would not be turned on.

We left the theatre disappointingly.  There was no taxi around.  In fact we could hardly see any passing pedestrians in this new town.  We walked for about half an hour to reach the closest metro station, passing by a few newly constructed shopping centres along the way.  We were tired and hungry.  A big hearty meal would be the only way to console our disappointment.

DSC_1317Poly Grand Theatre was a clean box with cheese-like holes.

DSC_1320A new tower stood right behind the theatre.

DSC_1324The grotto-like space can be served as semi-outdoor performance space.

DSC_1326Base trim of the facade curtain wall.

DSC_1333Elevated bridges and platforms provide an important exterior common space.

DSC_1346Front elevation and reflection of Poly Grand Theatre.

DSC_1367Occasional passerby provided a sense of scale.

DSC_1377Landscape features and observation bridge in front of the theatre.

DSC_1382Walking up the observation bridge.

DSC_1395 1The end of the observation bridge provided a great spot to admire the architecture of the theatre.

DSC_1398Observation bridge at night.

DSC_1410The lighting effect didn’t come on because there was no scheduled performance during our visit.

DSC_1417Street elevation of the theatre.

DSC_1426New shopping centre on our way walking back to the metro station.

 

***

Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China

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1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China

Located in Hongkou District, Shanghai 1933 was our next destination of the day.  After seeing photographs of this magnificent building on the Internet, I longed to visit Shanghai 1933 since months before our trip.  Built in the year 1933, Shanghai 1933 was purposely designed as a livestock slaughterhouse for the city.  It was designed by British architects, and some of the cement material was also imported from England. Throughout the years, the prewar slaughterhouse had been converted to host other functions.  A few years ago this unique building went through a major restoration and has once again gone through another identity transformation.  This time, it has become a hub of shops, restaurants, event spaces and studios for creative industries, a cool new representative of Shanghai’s creative and commercial scene.

The five-storey concrete building is remarkable both aesthetically and functionally.  The complex is comprised of a circular tower at the centre, and a rectangular ring of chambers around it, with open atrium spaces between the two components.  Narrow footbridges and concrete braces connect the two main components, while ramps and stairs link the levels.  Visually, the complex seems like a concrete labyrinth as if a modern realization of Piranesi’s imaginary prison.  Functionally, the former slaughterhouse is an excellent example of the former meat processing system when cattle was brought into the feeding halls at the outer ring and gradually proceeded upwards via the concrete ramps until reaching the high levels.  Then the animals would cross the narrow footbridges into the central circular tower and advanced through the slaughtering process.

After getting off the taxi, we were immediately attracted by the rich architectural articulations on the building facade and columns.  Reminding us of this highly globalized era, we could see the signage of Starbucks before we even entered the building.  Once inside, we wandered around the atrium spaces to take photographs and gradually worked upwards via its ramp network.  We didn’t pay much attention to the shops.  After strolling for a while,  we sat down at a Sichuan noodle shop and had a late lunch.  After the delicious meal, we wandered for another bit, enjoying ourselves with photographing the unique architectural spaces and also other visitors who came to Shanghai 1933 posing for all sorts of photo shoots.

DSC_1037Signage of 1933 Shanghai at the main entrance.

DSC_1045Interesting architectural articulations are visible everywhere, including the columns at the entrance arcade.

DSC_1059Footbridges at different levels of the complex greatly contribute to the labyrinth feel of the experience.

DSC_1062Visitors walked in the ring of atrium space between the circular tower and the rectangular outer chambers (shops).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWalking up the ramp overlooking a series of narrow stairs (probably for working staff back in the old days).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven the concrete balustrade was created with a sense of organic fluidity.

DSC_1119The round edges of the architecture reminded us of the former streamline slaughtering process.

DSC_1108A narrow bridge linking the circular tower and the outer wing.

DSC_1127A group of children in vivid colours stood out from the monotonous concrete environment.

DSC_1144Watching people enjoying different corners at Shanghai 1933 was delightful.

DSC_1153Watching people enjoying different corners at Shanghai 1933 was delightful.

DSC_1160Some came for their wedding photos.

DSC_1206A few visitors seemed to be models for fashion photography.

DSC_1220Others were simply groups of young people looking for an interesting selfie spot.

DSC_1199We could see either someone was being photographed or someone taking photos of another person almost anywhere at Shanghai 1933.

DSC_1227Looking down from the highest level.

123It was empty inside the circular core tower except some artwork display when we were there.

DSC_1262Footbridges and visitors both provided the most interesting components in any scene of the complex.

DSC_1259Concrete patchworks are visible throughout the complex.

DSC_1270Looking out the main entrance as we exited the complex.

DSC_1282The main facade of Shanghai 1933 as viewed from the canal of Shajing Port.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOther interesting former industrial buildings in the area.

DSC_1290Leaving Shanghai 1933 behind, we found our way to the nearest metro station.

***

Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


M50, Shanghai, China

After Rockbund Art Museum, we continued our inspiring art journey to M50.  50 Moganshan Road (M50) is a thriving artist community in Shanghai.  Over a hundred artists and artisans have studios at M50, and many are opened to the public.  M50 art community occupies a number of former factory buildings of Chunming Slub Mill.  By around year 2000, artists started to move into the vacant factory buildings because of the affordable rent.  The area gradually developed into one of the most interesting cultural scene in the city.

From Rockbund, we took a taxi to M50.  We were greeted by a few-storey high tower, cladded in silver aluminum panels, that said M50: Suzhou Creek/ Soho/ Loft.  Once inside the M50 area, we felt like we had entered a factory campus with industrial buildings and alleyways and footbridges linking up various building blocks.  We picked a building to enter to check out the artist studios inside, many of which had works displayed.  It wasn’t crowded but visitors like us could be seen all over.  Neatly designed coffee shops and souvenir/ design shops also mushroomed at M50, aiming at the increasing number of outside visitors and tourists.  We hopped from buildings to buildings and had fun in absorbing the causal and artistic atmosphere of M50.

DSC_0824The silver signage tower of M50 at the entrance.

DSC_1024Once inside, it felt like we had entered an industrial campus, except cool signage and LED video screens.

DSC_1026Posters of artist studios were pin up at the entrance of one of the buildings in M50.

DSC_0829Studios and small galleries lined up along both sides of a building in M50.

DSC_0832Window display of a sculpture studio.

DSC_0836Some galleries focus on paintings with local Chinese themes.

DSC_1020A slab opening seemed causally made to accommodate a red staircase in one of the buildings of M50.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHallways in the buildings at M50 are spacious, some of them have high windows to allow natural light into the building.

DSC_0863Human face is the main theme of one of the artists’ works at M50.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOshadai, a neatly decorated cafe / eatery with a causal touch of the countryside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStreet art could be seen all over M50.

DSC_0916An outdoor piece made of signage.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA cool coffee shop with fantastic timber structure.

DSC_0983Wall advertisement on the boundary wall of M50.

DSC_0988Even the colour and pattern of a rusty gate look interesting under the sun.

DSC_1000.JPGTree stump art with dragon carving.

DSC_1001Another street art with a local touch.

DSC_1004Under the water tank is another artist studio, which can be accessed by the stair and concrete deck that wraps around the sign “Waiting for You”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA partial replica of Michelangelo’s David with nearby residential development at the background.

DSC_1014The cutest cat sat at the door threshold of a cafe with both of its paws fixed on the saddle.

 

***

Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China

Primarily under the control of the British, the Bund area was known as Shanghai International Settlement in 1862 when the British and American settlements and a number of other nations united to form an international concession zone, while the French maintained its own concession to the south.  Years before establishment of the International Settlement, foreign forces were already actively developed each of its own concession in the city, and engaged in trading and other affairs of their own interest since the end of First Opium War in 1842.  For a hundred years until the Second World War, these concessions remained under foreign control.  Today, large amount of the former colonial architecture remain.  Not only do they become a symbol of Shanghai’s history, these western structures also offered opportunities for new businesses to come in and convert these stone and brick mansions into cool restaurants and high end shops, taping in cash from the new local wealthy class.

Rockbund is a revitalization project of a series of colonial buildings in the Bund area, including the former British Embassy.  Foreign architects were invited to do the restoration and redesign.  British architect David Chipperfield was assigned with 11 buildings in the Rockbund area.  Most of the buildings were off limits to visits.   unless we went in as customers.  We could at least visit Rockbund Art Museum.  A century ago, much of the International Concession was off limit to the local Chinese; today, ironically many of the restored buildings of Rockbund remained off limits to the general public.  Security guards with rudeness and distasteful attitude prevent anyone to even come close to the buildings and discourage people to take photos.  We had a brief stroll in the Rockbund area before arriving at Rockbund Art Museum.  In the midst of exclusive and hostile atmosphere of the Rockbund, the Art Museum in contrast expressed a sense of welcome and remained truly a place for culture.

Also restored by David Chipperfield, Rockbund Art Museum was the former Royal Asiatic Society Building, an well restored Art Deco building.  The museum was hosting a solo show of installation art called “Ifs, Ands, or Buts” by Heman Chong, a well-known Singaporean artist.  It was delightful to walk from floor to floor to see Chong’s works.  At the top level, we were greeted with a free coffee when we showed our admission tickets.  We walked out to the roof terrace with good views of the area and beyond.  The weather was fine.  We were fortunate enough to see the blue sky and enjoy the fine weather and acceptable air quality, which are getting really difficult to come by these days in a Chinese city.

DSC_0737The alleyways of Rockbund were almost deserted except a few tourists and the security guards.

DSC_0744Many historical buildings were well restored to reveal their former glory.

DSC_0752Touches of local ornament with predominately Western style architecture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASecurity guard.

DSC_0759Opened in 1930, the Zheng Guang Guang Xue Building was once home to China’s largest publishing company.

DSC_0763A touch of Christmas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARockbund.

DSC_0771The former British embassy had become a restaurant and a banquet venue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARockbund Art Museum redeveloped by architect David Chipperfield.

DSC_0789Railing in the Rockbund Art Museum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA piece by Heman Chong displaying artificial blossoms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe atrium and skylight were blocked off in order to house Heman Chong’s pieces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe curve stairs in Art Deco style.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReaching the top floors of the building.

DSC_0818At the top floor, a young man was reciting poems and other writings.

DSC_0822In some cases, the historical buildings were stripped down excepted the outer facades.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAView towards Pudong.

***

Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China

The next morning, our friend told us to meet him near the metro station of People’s Square.  As instructed, we exited the metro and found our way to Huanghe Road.  Along the way, we stopped to admire an interesting building at no. 50 Huanghe Road.  After we met up with our friend, we headed straight for our tasty breakfast at the well known Jia Jia Tang Bao for their soup dumplings.  We queued in front of the restaurant for about 20 minutes before sitting down.  We ordered three different types of soup dumplings: pork, pork with crab paste, and pure crab paste.  The pure crab paste soup dumplings were fresh and delicious, definitely worth the 20 minute wait on the street.

After breakfast, our friend took us for a walk towards the Bund.  We walked past various residential neighborhoods.  Near Nanjing East Station, we went inside New World Daimaru Department Store to have a peek at the world’s biggest spiral escalator.  From Daimaru, it was only a few minutes walk to the Rock Bund, a mix-use redevelopment zone in the former foreign concession area, in which a series of heritage buildings were renovated into luxury shops and high-end restaurants.

DSC_0662The elegance and humanistic scale of No. 50 Huanghe Road illustrated a big contrast with the odd looking skyscraper in the background.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHuanghe Road was flanked with a number of interesting snack shops and local eateries.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQueuing to eat at a place as famous as Jia Jia Tang Bao proved worthwhile.

DSC_0674Jia Jia Tang Bao is very popular with both locals and tourists.

DSC_0678Behind glass the staff were busy preparing the dumplings with meat and flour.

DSC_0681For such a big metropolis, many residential areas in Shanghai are surprisingly low density.

DSC_0687A street corner occupied by an interesting curved residential complex.

DSC_0698Sidewalk pavement fully utilized for drying laundry.

DSC_0701Mix use buildings with ground floor retail were common scenes in Shanghai.

DSC_0707Behind the street gate, a small residential community with internal alleyways is typical in the city.

DSC_0712Sidewalk pavement used for drying again and again.

DSC_0727The central atrium of New World Daimaru Department Store with a digital video screen at the top.

DSC_0728The spiral escalator ramping up the floors is cladded with bronze coloured panels.

DSC_0731Old westernized buildings could be seen all over the neighborhood near the Bund.

***

Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China

Another UNESCO World Heritage enlisted Suzhou garden, the Lion Grove Garden (獅子林園) is much smaller in scale compared to Humble Administrator’s Garden.  The garden is famous for its artificial Taihe rocks, where visitors can meander through a labyrinth of rocks that were grouped and constructed into miniatures of mysterious landscapes.  Originally built in 1342 during the Yuan Dynasty, the Lion Grove Garden had been famous for centuries.  Throughout history, the garden had gone through several cycles of restorations and declines.  In early 20th century, I. M. Pei’s grandfather became the owner of the garden, and put great effort to restore the garden to its former glory.  Today, the garden is owned by the state, and has become an icon of Suzhou.

After Humble Administrator’s Garden, we only had time for one more gardens before our return train to Shanghai.  We chose Lion Grove Garden over the others because of its famous rocks.  By the time we entered the garden, the afternoon sun was casting neat shadows and a yellowish glow to the rocks and pavilions.  Many local tourists were around, but we managed to enjoy ourselves much better at Lion Grove Garden than the Humble Administrator’s Garden.  The scale of Lion Grove was more intimate, and the dozens or so pavilions were neatly placed at strategic locations ideal for framing interesting views of the garden.  Seeing some of the traditional design elements of the Lion Grove Garden made us realized that some geometric motifs of I. M. Pei’s architecture might have come from his childhood’s experience of this magnificent Suzhou garden.

Before heading back to the train station, we dropped by the restaurant Wu Men Ren Jia (吳門人家) for a quick afternoon tea.  Made its name by hosting a number of international guests and famous individuals such as I. M. Pei and local politicians, Wu Men Ren Jia wrapped up our brief Suzhou visit with a memorable taste of the regional cuisine.

DSC_0453An exquisite sculpture in the drawing room at the first courtyard of the Lion Grove Garden.

DSC_0458_02An octagon and then circular gateways greeted our arrival to the inner garden area.

DSC_0492The scene of a tree standing behind a series of stained glass windows was one of our favorite images of the Lion Grove Garden.

DSC_0496The abstract rock design of Lion Grove Garden serves as a visual attraction when viewing from afar, and also stands as an intimate labyrinth in which a network of hidden paths allow visitors to meandering through the rock clusters at different levels.  Unfortunately it was simply impossible to appreciate the rock garden without the crowds.

DSC_0529Pavilions, artificial rocks, zigzag bridges and reflective pools are the common elements of a traditional Chinese garden.

DSC_0554Like the Summer Palace in Beijing, a stone boat offered a special attraction to the garden complex.

DSC_0555For some reason, ancient Chinese were very fond of the abstract looking rocks.

DSC_0561Water gave a sense of coherency and softened the atmosphere of the rocks.

DSC_0573A young woman was making Chinese water colour drawings at a pavilion.

DSC_0583View of the garden through the stain glass window of the stone boat.

DSC_0588The main zigzag bridge of Lion Grove Garden.

DSC_0600Most visitors were wandering only in the central pool and rock garden areas.  Here at a quiet corner at the side, we found a moment of serenity under the late afternoon sun.

DSC_0605Bamboo grove and wooden veranda provide a good buffer between the interior and the exterior.

DSC_0607A window opened to the small courtyard, framing the tree and an ornate screen motif like a painting.

DSC_0616After the visit to the Lion Grove Garden, we had about a bit of time left before our scheduled train back to Shanghai.  There was a local restaurant called Wu Men Ren Jia just a stone throw away.  The restaurant was tucked inside a narrow lane way which took us some time to find.

DSC_0614At Wu Men Ren Jia, we sampled two local dishes: the slow-cooked braised pork and the river shrimp stir fry with green tea leaves. The dishes were on the oily side for us but they were well cooked with the right balance of flavors. Having the opportunity to taste the authentic traditional dishes from South of the Yangtze was a bonus for our brief visit to Suzhou.

DSC_0621The sun was setting behind a willow by a canal.  Given the dusty construction sites all over the place and the busy traffic in the city, today’s Suzhou must be very different than what it used to be.

DSC_0627We bid farewell to Suzhou as we entered Suzhou Station under its gigantic canopy.

***

Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China

After Suzhou Museum, we moved on to next door to visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden (拙政園).  Humble Administrator’s Garden is the largest garden in Suzhou, and one of the most popular gardens in Southern China.  This UNESCO heritage site was first built in 1509 and was once the private garden of different poets, scholars and the wealthy and famous individuals in the region. This 5.2-hectare garden is dominated by pavilions, lily ponds, small lakes, small villas, and a extensive network of bridges and covered walkways.

The garden was full of local visitors.  For the first half of the garden, it felt like as if we entered a community park with leisure walkways winding along a small lake.  Spring flowers were in full bloom, while locals were busy taking selfies.  The garden was really crowded and sometimes noisy.  We imagined that it would be pleasant to wander around Humble Administrator’s Garden if we could come at a less crowded time.  Nevertheless, we did find charming moments deeper in the garden at a few tranquil spots.

DSC_0331Once inside, the garden is dominated by a series of lakes and ponds of various sizes.

DSC_0350The garden is full of small sky-wells and courtyards, blurring the boundary between exterior and interior spaces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlying eaves of a pavilion by the water.  An interconnected water system was considered to be a crucial element in a traditional Suzhou garden.

DSC_0359A covered bridge linking pavilions and covered walkways in the garden.

DSC_0361Interior decorations inside a pavilion.

DSC_0374 Window openings in Chinese architecture often serve as picture frames for beautiful scenery.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA tranquil corner of water pond, peach blossom and white washed walls viewed from a small pavilion.

DSC_0383Humble Administrator’s Garden is a perfect place for a leisure stroll when it is not overwhelmed by visitors.

DSC_0391A painter at work attracting the attention of a tourist group.

DSC_0408The undulating tiled roof resembles the back of the dragon.

DSC_0417A zigzag walkway along a water pond and mirror-like reflections.

DSC_0420Vine trellis of different designs could be found in the garden. They provided perfect sun shading to visitors.

DSC_0422The pink peach tree blossom standing out among the garden greenery was often the centre of attention to visitors.

DSC_0433The vine trellis provided pleasant natural shading for visitors.

DSC_0438Pink flowers in full bloom near the exit of the garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStreet vendor selling a wide range of fresh fruits. Bright red, green, yellow and purple, these colourful fruits caught our attention from afar.

 

***

Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China