The Waterhouse, Shanghai, China

28 February 2014 . Tags: , , , ,

The Waterhouse in Shanghai is a four-story, 19-room hotel built into an existing three-story Japanese Army headquarters building from the 1930’s.































This boutique hotel is located by the new Cool Docks development on the South Bund District, it fronts the Huangpu and has views of the Pudong skyline across the river.  The Chinese architects NHDRO have maintained the building’s stripped concrete and brick walls and added a new Corten steel extension on the roof.  The Cool Docks was built on the site of Shanghai’s old Dock, the Shiliupu. Coreten, with is rusty patina, was selected to reflect the area’s industrial past.




The architects were responsible for the interior design as well and they again elected to leave the existing features, like exposed concrete and brickwork, untouched while adding new circulation.




The windows have been replaced throughout and narrow interior windows installed that provide glimpses between guest’s rooms and public spaces such as the reception and the dining hall.




In 2010 the Hotel was awarded the Architectural Review’s prestigious Emerging Architecture Award.  The jurors gave credit for the fact that  the design “gives value to a relatively ordinary old decaying building’.  They recognised that typically in China the building would have been torn down, ‘but they kept it and did it in the right way.’




This article by Clifford A Pearson in Architectural Record explains beautifully the design philosophy for this unique hotel.  He talks of the architects’ ability to capture the spirit of a Chinese nongtang (lane house) and details how they have allowed modern insertions to contrast superbly with the “flaunted decay” of its history.  Click here to read more.


To find out more about hotel rates and availability click through to the hotel website.


Photos are by Derryck Menere and  Pedro Pegenaute.






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