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Sleek & Chic | The Waterhouse Hotel, South Bund, Shanghai, China

July 9, 2010

Rooftop bar and restaurant © Designhotel

The physical transformation of Shanghai is nothing if not mind boggling, the scale of which is simply… unprecedented. Shanghai’s gleaming financial district of Pudong with the latest monoliths scraping the sky… across the Huangpo River, looks over the opposite bank of Asia’s best preserved avenue of turn-of-the-century classic European architecture of the Bund. These two distinctively-different facades represent both Shanghai’s fascinating (and often turbulent) past, and its reassuring future.

As the world’s 2nd largest economy after the US, having recently snatched the position from Japan, China’s economic growth continues apace, albeit slower than before but the pace of change is unstoppable. And it’s only fitting that China’s showcase to the world is her mega metropolis, Shanghai.

On the hotel front, its also a breath of fresh air to know that not everything in Shanghai is housed in a modern edifices, her past has not been forgotten, and old buildings that eek character and personality are getting a new lease of life. Such is the scene of Shanghai’s newest kid on the block, The Waterhouse. An exciting addition indeed.

Located on the banks of the Huangpu River in the historic dockyard district and in the vicinity of the 2010 World Expo site, The Waterhouse at South Bund is rooted in an inversion of internal & external spaces. Shanghai-based Neri + Hu Design and Research Office (NHDRO) have transformed a non-descript 1930s riverside building into a modern expression of Chinese aesthetics. This architectural intervention enhances the building’s industrial presence, while outfitting the interior with the ammenities of a luxury hotel.

The project comprises two buildings: a hotel and an event warehouse. For the hotel, Neri & Hu created 19 rooms, with a rooftop bar and a restaurant. Interestingly, the private and public spaces are switched – ”Guests grazing through the buildings public areas are granted vantage points into private space, while guests taking respite in what would conventionally be secluded space are able to observe the public realm while doing so.” The architects felt this concept would result in a more exciting hotel experience, and provide a strong identifying mark for the hotel.

Source: Architecture Daily & ecosalon

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