119-year townhouse shifted back to original site as tunnel opens
A 119-year-old townhouse block in Shanghai has been moved back to its original site after it was shifted to make way for the construction of a tunnel beneath the Huangpu River.
The terraced complex, comprising six units, on 104 Jiangpu Road in Yangpu District was moved 46.5 meters eastwards and 11.4 meters northwards. It was also reinforced and renovated in the last two years.
It has now returned to the original site where it was built in 1902 after the Jiangpu Road Tunnel was completed and opened, the district's construction management commission said on Tuesday.
It took about 10 days to shift back one of the oldest remaining lane-style residential buildings in the city, said Qiu Junnan, an official with Shanghai Chengtou Highway Investment Group, which is in charge of the project.
"A lot of lifting jacks were installed at the bottom of the structure after it was reinforced," said Qiu. "The building was then pushed to the temporary position and moved back on tracks."
The method effectively protected the historical building, while generating less noise to avoid bothering residents living nearby, he added.
After the house was temporarily shifted in early 2019, the site near Yangpu's waterfront was dug out for the construction of the tunnel. The 17th tunnel beneath the Huangpu River stretches 2.28 kilometers, connecting Yangpu and the Pudong New Area.
The three-story townhouse block covering 2,100 square meters was built in 1902 by Japanese company Mitsui Bussan Kaisha to accommodate its senior clerks.
The firm bought the Yujin textile plant from renowned Chinese entrepreneur Huang Zuoqing and built the terrace block on Jiangpu Road in the English terrace style, according to the district's cultural heritage authority. All the other English terrace-style houses have been demolished and replaced by commercial residential communities.
The wood-and-brick structure has been well preserved with original lamps, wooden floors, stairs and fireplaces all preserved. The building is adorned with decorative pillars and iron handrails.
"I've witnessed the whole shifting process, which looked safe and reliable," said a resident surnamed Li who lives in a neighboring community. He can see the historical structure through his window and has lived beside the building for over a decade.
The housing authority said it will further renovate and preserve the building after the relocation is completed, though its future usage is yet to be decided.
An increasing number of historical buildings in Shanghai are being moved to new sites instead of being razed as a result of urban renewal.
In 2003, the Shanghai Concert Hall was shifted 66.5 meters and elevated over 3 meters to make way for the construction of Yan'an Elevated Road.
Minli Middle School, a three-floor structure, finished its 57-meter-long journey in February 2010 to make room for a commercial project.
In September 2017, Mahavira Hall, the main pavilion of the Jade Buddha Temple, was shifted 30.7 meters to the north.
Last year, five historic buildings in Shanghai's largest urban renewal project in Jing'an District were shifted a total of 2 kilometers, marking the largest and longest-distance relocation to date.