Asia's biggest silo opens to public in urban exhibition

The 48-meter-tall silo, with a total storage of 80,000 tons, once the largest in Asia, is opened to the public free of charge at Minsheng Wharf along Huangpu River.
Ti Gong

The silo was built for the city’s major wharf for storing grain and sugar. It was once the largest silo in Asia.

Asia's once largest grain silo was opened to public free from Sunday for a three-month urban planning exhibition in Pudong.

About 3,000 visitors braved the rain on the opening day to the 48-meter-tall silo with total storage of 80,000 tons at Minsheng Wharf along Huangpu River.

Under the theme “thisCONNECTION — Sharing a Future Public Space,” the three-month Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2017 will display a variety of different trends for the future of urban development, said Xu Jian, the chief engineer with the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration, the city's top planning body and the organizer of the event.

"The biennial exhibition aims to showcase the unique features and urban cultures of Shanghai as well as help to drive the improvement of urban space," Xu said.

More than 200 urban designers, architects and artists from over a dozen of countries and regions will present over 200 exhibitions during the art season through to January 15, he said.

Renowned Italian architect Stefano Boeri serves as the chief curator of the art season. The Milanese architect is famous for the Bosco Verticale, or Vertical Forest, as well as serving as the chief planner for the Milan World Expo 2015.

"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 other curators of the art season.

Li said visitors can learn the history of Shanghai and consider the future development of the city's waterfront and other public spaces.

The exhibition for the art season is open to the public, from 10:30am to 5pm daily except Sundays, free of charge in the silo and nearby warehouses at Minsheng Wharf on 3 Minsheng Road.  

Yang Jian / SHINE

About 3,000 visitors braved the rain on the first public opening day to the 48-meter-tall silo with total storage of 80,000 tons at the Minsheng Wharf along the Huangpu River.

"The old silo itself is the main and biggest exhibit during the season this year," said Xu.

The silo was built more than two decades ago to be the city's major wharf for grain and sugar. When it opened, it was the largest silo in Asia and the most cutting-edge silo in the Far East, said Guan Yetong, director with the planning, land and resources bureau of Pudong.

"Though the silo only has a history of 22 years, it still has the historic value to be preserved because such architecture won't be built in future," Guan said, clarifying a previous statement that the silo was built by a British shipping company in the early part of last century.

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 Huangpu River waterfront, Liu said.

Several escalators have been 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 its historic structure, Liu added.

Yang Jian / SHINE

No major change has been made to the appearance of the silo, apart from the installation of escalators, in order to protect the historic structure.

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