Shànghǎi Exhibition Centre

Architecture in Jìng’ān

The hulking monolith of the Shànghǎi Exhibition Centre was built in 1955 as the Sino-Soviet Friendship Mansion – a friendship that soon turned sour and even regressed to the brink of war in the 1960s. The Stalinist-style architecture is based on St Petersberg's Admiralty Building, with neoclassical columns and a skeletal spire topped by a communist red star. Though located across from the Shànghǎi Centre, the best view is from the Yan'an Rd side, where the building is fronted by a stirring bronze socialist realist monument and red-star stained-glass windows.

You're allowed to wander its grounds and photograph the buildings. Architecture-lovers will appreciate its monumentality and bold, unsubtle Bolshevik strokes. There was a time when Pǔdōng was set to look like this. The site of the Exhibition Centre was originally the gardens of Jewish millionaire Silas Hardoon.


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