Old grain silo to become art and culture landmark

Once the largest grain silo in the Far East, the structure will open free to the public during the three-month Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2017, to begin on October 15.
Shanghai Urban Space Art Season / Ti Gong

(From left) Liu Yichun, designer for the redevelopment of the historic grain silo, Li Xiangning, a curator of the art season exhibition, Yang Jing, deputy Party secretary of the Shanghai International Arts Festival, and Huang Doudou, art director with the Shanghai Dance Theater, discuss urban planning and arts during a preview event for the Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2017.

Urban planners and designers from both home and abroad will showcase their ideas at an exhibition in an old grain silo in Pudong during the Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2017.

Under the theme “thisCONNECTION — Sharing a Future Public Space,” the three-month event will display a variety of different trends for the future of urban development, the city's top planning body said over the weekend.

"We will discuss architecture, the city, art performance, dance and music, as well as study how to combine the traditional and contemporary arts to attract seniors, youngsters and children," Li Xiangning, a professor with Tongji University and one of the main curators of the art season told a preview event for the urban exhibition.

The exhibition for the art season will open to the public free-of-charge through January 15, 2018 in the silo at Minsheng Wharf on 3 Minsheng Road, Pudong.

Shanghai Urban Space Art Season / Ti Gong

Renovation is ongoing at the 48-meter-tall silo to turn it into an art and culture landmark. It was built by a British shipping company in the early part of last century and was once the largest in Asia.

The 48-meter-tall silo, built by a British shipping company in the early part of last century, was once the largest in Asia and stored most of the city’s grain in its heyday.

Exhibitions inside the 80,000-ton silo will focus on global urban planning practices and public space development, said the city’s planning, land and resources administration, the organizer of the annual event. One focus of the exhibition will be the city government’s ongoing project to open a total of 45 kilometers of uninterrupted pedestrian paths — half of them in Puxi and half in Pudong — between the Yangpu and Xupu bridges by the end of the year.

The British shipping company Blue Funnel Line purchased the wharf during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It built the silo and warehouses between 1907 and 1925, making the wharf the most advanced facility of its kind in the Far East.

Shanghai Urban Space Art Season / Ti Gong

The first phase of the renovation project is nearing completion as an escalator has been installed to take visitors to the top of the silo.

The wharf area will become a commercial and cultural zone, featuring art exhibitions, hotels and other facilities in both historic and newly built structures, said Liu Yichun, the designer for the redevelopment of the silo.

The exhibition will be mainly held on the ground and top floors of the silo where visitors can also enjoy the view of the Huangpu River waterfront, Liu said.

Several escalators have been newly installed inside the silo to take visitors to the top of the structure. Apart from that, no other change has been made to the appearance of the silo, in order to protect the historic structure, Liu added.

After the facility makes its debut to the public during the art season exhibition, many other events are scheduled to be held, such as the Lujiazui Public Art Festival, Citizen Tourism Festival, Citizen Cultural Festival, and the annual World City Day in late October.

Shanghai Urban Space Art Season / Ti Gong

Visitors can enjoy the scenery of the Huangpu River waterfront from the top of the silo.

Shanghai Urban Space Art Season / Ti Gong

Most of the facilities inside the silo has been well-preserved in memory of its past.

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