If there’s one thing that perfectly captures the essence of Shanghainese culture, it’s the “shikumen”. For those unfamiliar with this phrase, Shikumen houses are traditional Shanghainese architectures that combine both Chinese and Western elements.
These two to three-story houses, though decreasing in numbers, are uniquely Shanghainese and hold an important place in the memories of countless locals. Even though the old Shikumen buildings are nowhere near as fancy and spectacular as the Bund, the familiarity and realness of these houses perhaps show an even more beautiful side of Shanghai.
A Shanghainese architect in her 70s embodied this sentiment through sketches of Shikumen houses, capturing all the details that the “Old Shanghainese” know only too well. What the architect draws is far beyond just a sketch, it’s also a symbol of her and many others’ nostalgia towards the Shikumen, and a contribution towards keeping its memories alive. Take a look at some of her pieces, and maybe take a stroll around a Shikumen building- there aren’t many left.
Source: Shanghai Observor
Editor: Lannie, Bonnie Lu