Cao Chenfeng|2023-03-06
What and where are 'paper buildings' in Shanghai

Buildings seemingly as thin as a sheet of paper have become extinct in Shanghai, but some in multiple shapes have survived, and we call them "paper buildings."

What and where are 'paper buildings' in Shanghai

A building on Ningbo Road

The most famous

Speaking of wedge-shaped buildings in Shanghai, most people will think about the one on Ningbo Road. Built in the 1930s, this structure is extremely thin, measuring only 20 centimeters at its thinnest edge. In 2013, Britain's Daily Mail reported: "It may be the flattest and thinnest building in the world."

This is a polygonal building with a triangle shape, but it's a normal building with business and residential functions on the other side.

What and where are 'paper buildings' in Shanghai

Tongfu Building

Semicircle building

Tongfu Building, at the intersection of Nanjing Road W. and Shimen No. 2 Road, is also a paper-thin building. As a semicircular building, most rooms inside have irregular shapes. The curved surface toward the intersection is covered with dark brown bricks. The other half is Haining Building, located on Sichuan Road N.

Both buildings were built by Bank of China in 1930 and designed by famous architects Lu Qianshou and Wu Jingqi, who used the curved design to obtain more practical space. Haining Building also has extension space on the north side.

What and where are 'paper buildings' in Shanghai

The ship-shaped building near the intersection of Henan Road S. and Renmin Road

Ship-shaped building

There's a unique building near the intersection of Henan Road S. and Renmin Road. It has no name so people call it the "ship building," the wedge building or the iron building.

The southern side of the building has a round and curved facade, while the northern side connects the veranda space on Jinling Road E. This building was once home to old stores, banks and hotels. With business closed, the building has become a protected site.

What and where are 'paper buildings' in Shanghai

Polygonal building

The polygonal building at 80 Yandang Road is the former site of the China Vocational Education Association. The red and brown building has an eclectic style with European and American classical compositions. The west side on Nanchang Road is its thinnest point. When viewed from the intersection, the building is similar to an architectural cut-out in a collage.

Other paper buildings

1. Aida Apartment: Building with circular shaped edge

Address: 181 Nanchang Rd

2. 106-year-old paper Building with red bricks

Address: 177 Chongqing Rd N.

3. Dunheli: Former residence of Ba Jin, Chen Wangdao

Address: 306 Xiangyang Rd S.