Essential Architecture- The Bund, Shanghai

China Bank of Communications Building

presently It now houses the Shanghai Council of Trade Unions.


C. H. Gonda


No. 14, The Bund, Shanghai, China


1948- was the last building to be built on the Bund.


Art Deco 




  Above image ©Paul Pak-hing Lee - 1997
  Above image reproduced with the generous permission of Simon Fieldhouse. Copyright Simon Fieldhouse.
The original premises occupied by the Bank of Communications on the Bund had been built in 1902 for the German Asiatic Bank by Heinrich Becker, who also designed the Russo-Chinese Bank next door. Following the denial of German extraterritorial rights in 1912 the bank was closed in August of that year and forced into liquidation by the Nationalist government. A. C. Stephen of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank was entrusted with overseeing the dissolution of the institution. The Bank of Communications moved in on 25 th February 1920. The second and third floors of their new four story, Italian neo-Renaissance style building had been formerly let out as luxurious apartments. The Bank of Communications, one of China’s oldest banking institutions dating from 1908, was created by a special charter allowing it to handle all revenues from the railroads, posts and telegraphs, as well as the administration of ocean and river navigation. A further charter was granted by the Republican government in 1914 that permitted it to deal in government bond issues and treasury notes. Whilst work on rebuilding the bank was underway in 1948, a safe, dating back to the years of its original German occupants, was found hidden deep in its walls. Despite speculation that it contained secret German documents or a hoard of gold and gems nothing of interest was brought to light. The building’s architect, C. H. Gonda, who put together designs for the building 11 years earlier, had revolutionized the appearance of bank buildings in Shanghai with his modernist design for the Bank of East Asia on nearby Central Sichuan Road in 1928.