Transplantation to Localisation: The Importation of Western Structural Technologies in Modern Shanghai Based on a Study of the Bund Buildings, 1843–1943

Peng Zhang* and Yijiao Yang

 College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
* Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT  Shanghai’s modern architectural heritage in the 19th and early 20th centuries is an essential aspect of modern Chinese architectural history because of its outstanding characteristics and well-preserved conditions. Modern Shanghai architecture was transformed by the importation of Western structural technologies and materials in addition to their forms and institutions. After 100 years of development since 1843, there were over 100 important buildings in the Bund area by 1943. These buildings were built in different periods using the best available structural technologies. This study focuses on the technological dimension of modern Shanghai architecture. Based on an architectural survey and a literature investigation of the Bund buildings, this study explores the evolution of modern structural technologies in Shanghai by analysing the Bund buildings’ key structural factors. The influences of the localisation and implementation of Western architecture’s building technologies in Shanghai were also analysed, including time of importation, characteristics and integration of local craftsmanship and materials. This study focuses on the method and analyses of architectural technology history from not only technological and historical perspectives, but also a social sciences perspective.

KEYWORDS  Western structural technologies, transplantation, localisation, Shanghai, Bund Buildings

Received March 10, 2019; accepted March 14, 2019.