The original quiet and elegant facade of the building is restored through archaeological research.
On East Changzhi Road, Hongkou District, Shanghai, among the tall buildings standing along the street, there is a soothing horizontal line, which makes it easy to notice—this is a historical building with a unique shape. A semicircular dome rises from the center of the main building, and the long pointed porch casts a half-lit shadow at the entrance, with dense trees and mottled walls. The two wings of the building slowly spread out along the east-west direction, embracing the green space on the south side, like an airplane with wings spread, and a mysterious old castle.
| 独具匠心的工科建筑设计 |
Unique Engineering Architectural Design
The Lester School and Henry Lester Institute of Technical Education was designed by Dehe Matheson and constructed by Jiutai Jinji Construction Factory. It was completed in 1936. The facade of the building combines the styles of British Gothic Revival and Art Deco, with an overall emphasis on vertical lines and a refined and powerful appearance. This is an important case study of Shanghai’s modern architectural style, and it is also an important part of Shanghai’s modern multiple architectural styles.
The façade of the building is made of natural granite, Taishan facing brick, water-brushed stone and other materials commonly used in Shanghai modern architecture, and the building color is solemn and warm. The facade of the building is decorated with scientific instruments and mechanical patterns such as balances, squares, gears, compasses, and beakers, which is unique.
Following the principles of integrity, authenticity, recognizability, reversibility, minimal intervention and sustainable use of historical building repairs, the design team strives to restore the historical features of the building through protection and repair of the main building, interior decoration and environmental improvement. Combined with the functional requirements of running a contemporary school, optimize the mechanical and electrical equipment and environment, and improve the performance of the building, so as to complete the continuation and inheritance of the historical style.
While respecting the history and current situation of the Lester School and Henry Lester Institute of Technical Education, the renovation project preserved all the history of key parts such as lecture halls and auditoriums in accordance with the principle of “preserving everything that should be preserved”. The detailed design echoes the context of historical buildings, making the old and new buildings form a new whole.
| 以仿制和补配修缮建筑细部 |
Restoration of Architectural Details by Lmitation and Supplementation
The cleaning, repairing, imitation and replenishment of building materials are also the difficulties of this renovation. Although Taishan bricks for exterior walls and glazed bricks for interior walls are commonly used in modern buildings, they become tailor-made when it comes to cleaning and matching, and the ideal effect can only be achieved through countless samples.
Walking into the interior of the building, you can fully feel the painstaking efforts of the design and construction team to restore the old. For example, on the doors and windows on both sides of the first floor, there are books, compasses, beakers and other unique elements of the School of Engineering. These are specially reproduced by the restoration team from the originals preserved by the Shanghai History Museum.
What is even more amazing is that there are thousands of wall bricks inside the entire building, and the ice cracks on each wall brick are different, which is difficult to achieve even with the current technology. These wall tiles have been cleaned and polished to preserve their original flavor.
| 装饰艺术与教学功能完美结合 |
Perfect Combination of Decorative Art and Teaching Function
The auditorium on the first floor is two stories high, and the lower parts of the green walls on the east and west sides are equipped with red lacquered wood walls and heating niches. The patterns under the windows are in Art Deco style. The floor and stage in the auditorium retain the original wooden floor.
In the amphitheater on the second floor, the indoor blackboard is a movable blackboard that can be lifted up and down. It is the original one in the 1930s, and few of them have been preserved in modern educational buildings.
The roof of the original drawing classroom is unique in that it adopts a sawtooth-shaped skylight design. The sawtooth faces the northeast direction to obtain skylight through diffuse reflection and obtain uniform and stable indoor lighting, which is conducive to the use of drawing. In this renovation, taking advantage of its high and spacious space and ideal indoor light environment, this space is designed as an exhibition hall in combination with the needs of teaching and display.
The design team took the construction technology and materials used as part of the display, stripped off the whitewash on the wall, not only retained the wood formwork texture of the original fair-faced concrete wall, but also retained the glued steel used for wall reinforcement this time, allowing the collision of different materials Add more possibilities to the space.
If it is said that nearly a century ago, Lester’s will bestowed Shanghai, the most advanced engineering college at that time, and cultivated a large number of top professionals for our country; a hundred years later, the sleeping campus was awakened, and the ancient buildings were rejuvenated. Our historical building protection and restoration team revitalizes historical memory, brings history and historical buildings back into our vision, and creates new humanistic and social values for today.