Former celebrity homes in Xuhui look to welcoming visitors in 2019

A cluster of former residences of notable figures will open to public in Xuhui District in early 2019 to highlight the city's culture and history.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A passerby walks past the British-style Blackstone Apartments in Xuhui District yesterday. Built in 1926, it will be home to headquarters of music institutes and workshops for famous musicians following a renovation. 

A cluster of former residences of notable figures will open to public in Xuhui District in early 2019 to highlight the city’s culture and history, the district’s top official said yesterday.

They include the former residences of late playwright Xia Yan and translator Cao Ying, as well as the historical Cloisters Apartments and Blackstone Apartments, said Bao Binzhang, the Party secretary of Xuhui District.

“Shanghai needs enough cultural density, warmth and influence to achieve its goal to become a globally excellent city,” Bao said during an interview with a Shanghai radio station.

The Cloisters Apartments, built in the 1930s, will be converted into an exhibition hall to showcase the culture, events and architecture of the Hengshan and Fuxing roads’ historical zone, Bao said.

Renovations on these buildings are scheduled to be completed by October and the structures will officially open to the public before the Spring Festival, which falls on February 5, 2019.

The district government has already opened the former homes of writer Ba Jin, playwright Ke Ling and cartoonist Zhang Leping.

The former home of respected revolutionary leader Huang Xing, located on Wukang Road, has become a visitor center for other historic residences in the area.

Renovations will start in March on the former residences of Xia and Cao. The residence of Xia was built in 1932 and the playwright lived there with his family between 1949 and 1955.

After the renovation, the three buildings within a compound will present stage dramas and exhibitions about Xia. A 1,000-square-meter lawn will also be restored to its original appearance.

The Cloisters Apartments once served as the office building for the Hunan Road Subdistrict. Many parts of the two story structure, such as the balconies, fountains and mosaic floor tiles, have been preserved.

The British-style Blackstone Apartments, built in 1926, will be home to the headquarters of music institutes and workshops for famous musicians. It will be part of an “international music culture block” along with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall and the He Luting Concert Hall along Fuxing Road M. and Fenyang roads.

The district launched several services yesterday to better protect these historical buildings and serve visitors.

An emergency repair team, for instance, led by home repair specialists Xufang Group, will offer voluntary maintenance and termite elimination to these historical buildings regularly.

The district’s culture heritage authority will organize residents to patrol the historical zone to better protect the historical structures from being damaged. The transport authority has launched a project to bury overhead cables underground.

The Hunan and Tianping subdistricts which are in charge of the historical zone have opened a number of service stations to serve visitors. Volunteers at the centers can also introduce the history of the historical buildings and the figures who once lived inside.

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