In the heart of Shanghai lies a 1930’s warehouse that recently re-bloomed as a small, elegant hotel that fuses modernism with the city's storied past. The 19 room Hotel Waterhouse at South Bund just opened last week and now offers guests an immersive experience. Designed by Neri & Hu Research and Design Office (NHRDO), the renovation is not a reface of an old concrete building -- but an architectural linkage of one era to another. Many of the old walls remain in their original condition while new elements sprout out of the old, defining public and private spaces and creating a sometimes startling contrast between the two.
As its name implies, the Waterhouse started out as a port warehouse located on the banks of the Huangpu River. The immaculate reconstruction played a sensitive role in maintaining the feeling of the open and simple building. Each room is utterly unique, although they have all the modern refinements of an upscale hotel. The building is designed with a very open plan; public and private spaces merge in the the many preserved passages and the new bright and airy courtyard.
The reclaimed roof features an expansive view of the city’s skyline, including the site of the nearby Shanghai World Expo. The hotel offers free single-speed bikes to get around and explore the busy neighborhoods. As described in Condé Nast Traveller, “Visitors can go shoe shopping for traditional Fei Yue’s and visit the Anxi market which sells an array of second hand clothing. After a long day of sight-seeing the Waterhouse can recommend Shanghai’s best Chinese doctors and acupuncturists to help guests relax.”
Photos by Pedro Pegenaute Fotografía