blockitecture leaderboard

Saving Shanghai's Art Deco Gems

Even with widespread demolition of old buildings to make way for modern towers, the city still has more art deco buildings than anywhere else on earth. A new photo book hopes to inspire the city to preserve its rich architectural legacy.

"The publication of Deke Erh's self-funded new book Shanghai Art Deco is testament to the 47-year-old photographer's determination in the face of the city's merciless wrecking ball. In 320 pages and over 1,000 photographs, Erh and other photographers capture many of the city's surviving historic residences, hotels, cinemas and municipal buildings-creating a sweeping survey of the architectural and cultural treasures that could be threatened by relentless development."

" 'For almost 40 years Shanghai was cut off from the world,' says Tess Johnston, a 75-year-old American who has lived in Shanghai for more than two decades and who wrote the text for Erh's book. 'Now that the city has a chance to catch up, it is looking to the future and neglecting the past. If things don't change, everything that makes Shanghai unique will be lost forever.' "

"Shanghai Art Deco is the eighth collaboration by Erh and Johnston. Though their previous works, all celebrating and recording Western architectural influences on Chinese cities, were published only in English, this book is bilingual. "The others were really aimed at a foreign market, but it's important for me to spread my ideas about conservation to the Chinese population," says Erh. It's not yet a lost cause, adds Johnston, noting that an increasing number of Shanghainese are finally recognizing the value of the more mature buildings in their midst-not least because foreign professionals are willing to pay top dollar to rent them. 'Perhaps purely economic incentives might actually save old Shanghai yet,' she says."

Full Story: Shanghai's Art Deco Riches Revealed


building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!