Facelift for historic mansion

2008-01-21 23:57:16 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 22 -- A heritage building on the Bund will undergo a facelift and be developed into a commercial complex this year, project officials said yesterday.

The building, originally called Ewo Building, is at 27 Zhongshan Road E1 near Beijing Road E.

It was built in the early 1920s and used by a British trade company.

After 1949, the city government claimed ownership of the building. It is now known as the Foreign Trade Mansion and is being used by a local state-owned enterprise as its office building.

"After the facelift, the building will be much stronger and more energy-efficient," Xu Changfa, a designer of the Shanghai Xiandai Architectural Design Group, said yesterday.

He said the eight-story building featured British architectural style with large arched windows and gates made of giant stones on the ground floor.

Double-glazed windows will be installed to make the building more energy-efficient and exterior air-conditioners facing Beijing Road E will be removed.

Instead, it will have a centrally controlled air-conditioning system and, an automatic fire control system.

A major challenge for the project is to re-consolidate its structure and foundation. When finished, the building would be able to resist an earthquake of a magnitude of seven on the Richter Scale.

Project insiders said the overall expense of the facelift would reach 80 million yuan (11.05 million U.S. dollars).

Xu declined to comment on which company would rent the building after the facelift. Previous reports said a US-based fashion company had agreed to move in.

(Source: Shanghai Daily)