Tian Shan Apartments

Tian Shan Apartments
Tian Shan Apartments

One of the most rewarding part of my passion for old Shanghai is to find locations and information that are little known or have been overlooked when they should be easy to see. Just like in the post “Haig Court, right in our face” this post is about a building on a street that every knows but only few people have noticed. Showing the city to visitors on a sidecar is challenging and pushes me to learn more and more about the city, so more posts like this are to be expected.

U-shaped Tian Shan Apartment

The entrance of Tian Shan apartment is located on Huai Hai Zhong lu, on one of most busy shopping stretch. The apartment complex is made of six buildings of 4 floors. Architecture and facades are typical of art deco, using vertical and horizontal lines to enhance the shape of the buildings. These 6 buildings are U-shaped with the opening turned south to catch as much light as possible for each apartment. They would not be really noticeable without the art deco fixtures on the roof. As you can see on the picture below, the buildings are linked with concrete cross-beams that are hanging on the whole with this very geometric design hanger. I am not sure what was it useful for, probably for pipes or cables.

Decoration on Tian Shan Apts
Decoration on Tian Shan Apts

This definitely increase the art deco feeling of this compound a lot, as well as the decoration on the roof of the central part (see picture right up). This compound is now mostly inhabited by employees of the nearby university and still gives the impression of peace and quiet, a few meters away from the busy street.

Tian Shan Apt

The recent painting also helps a lot.  The purpose built cable carrier did not stop the electricity company to install some ugly cables in the middle (see right), but they did not manage to destroy the harmony of this 1928 piece of art.

This charming small compound was located in the heart of the urban part of the French concession, not far from Brooklyn Court, Russian bakeries and restaurants, and Cathay Apartments. With entrance on famous Avenue Joffre (the old name of Huai Hai Zhong Lu), it was certainly one of the nice adresses to live in and rental were surely very high. Tian Shan apartment can now be found at 622 Avenue Joffre (today 622  Huai Hai Zhong Lu).

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