Essential Architecture- The Bund, Shanghai

China Merchants Bank Building

formerly Housed the first Chinese-owned bank in China. The four story China Merchants Bank Building in Shanghai was built in 1907 and later Hospital of Shanghai Changjiang Navigation Company.


Atkinson & Dallas


No. 9, The Bund, Shanghai, China






red brick


  Above image reproduced with the generous permission of Simon Fieldhouse. Copyright Simon Fieldhouse.
The China Merchants Steam Navigation Company Building

The history of this building is inextricably linked with that of the former Russell & Co. Building at No. 6 The Bund. The China Merchants Steam Navigation Company, the first Chinese company to establish itself on the Bund, had occupied the site of No. 9 and the so-called Stone House buildings to the rear on Fuzhou Road since 1885. The present red brick building, designed by Atkinson & Dallas, was opened in 1901.

The company, which was taken over by the Nationalist government in 1928, was again reorganised in the early 1930s in an effort to improve its efficiency and to stamp out corruption. In a dramatic incident, its general manager, Mr. C. T. Chao, was shot dead in broad daylight by two Chinese assassins at the steps of the building in July 1930. By that time, the Stone House buildings had fallen into such a state of dangerous ill- repair that plans, which were never to materialise, were laid for the reconstruction of the entire site. The China Merchants shipping fleet again obtained protection under the American flag in 1937 when William P. Hunt and Co. took a majority stake in the company, in order, as it turned out temporarily, to circumvent its seizure by Japanese interests. Hunt’s leased the building out to the Deh Lee Trading Company in September 1939.

The building is once again flying the flag as the fashions on display in Shiatzy Chen’s flagship store, which opened in October 2005. exhibit a distinctively Chinese heritage amidst the parade of Western fashion marques that now dominate the Bund. The building’s Chinese pedigree made it an obvious location for Ms. Shiatzy Chen’s ambition to create a strong Chinese presence on the Bund. China Merchant Holdings, which had been back in charge of the building since 2001, were fully in accord with her ethos. Work on restoring the original, red brick exterior look and on converting offices into a modern and artistic showplace for Shiatzy Chen’s exquisite creations began in late 2001.

The interior was fashioned by the renowned Indonesian designer Jaya Ibrahim. Launched. in 1978, Shiatzy
Chen has 40 stores in her native land, opened her first store in Paris in 2001, the first in Shanghai in 2003,
and plans to have 50 mainland outlets by 2010. Three smaller, independent outlets, housed in the old Stone
House buildings to the rear of the building, also parade Chinese inspiration in the form of fine handcrafted
porcelain, modern Chinese art and skilfully hand-embroidered footwear.

Text with thanks to Simon Fieldhouse.