Honganli Demonstration Area | Shanghai Honganli Enterprise Development Co., Ltd. | World Design Awards 2023

Shanghai Honganli Enterprise Development Co., Ltd.: Runner-Up of World Design Awards 2023. The project is a demonstration area of the Honganli Urban Renewal Project, which is located in Block 17 of Hongkou District that carries the memory of old Shanghai. With two years’ efforts in researching and formulating historic preservation schemes, the design team worked out a 785-page plan to protect this historical land through preservation, repair, renovation, renewal and reconstruction interventions rather than demolition, to maximally preserve its original style.

The design creates a new-style Lilong (A “Lilong” is a neighborhood of lanes populated by houses in old Shanghai). It stores the memory and imagination of old Shanghai, and is permeated with a lively vibe from every household at dusk. It offers a glimpse into old Shanghai through the stone gate and gable components, and allows for future occupants to chat with neighbors and family in the communal garden.

Honganli retains the typical layout of traditional Lilong neighborhoods that organizes houses in rows with interconnected main and branching lanes. It also inherits the human-friendly scale of traditional Lilong houses in terms of architectural style, the design scheme optimizes 8 traditional Lilong forms in different periods based on historical research, and works out 6 Lilong clusters and 5 facade styles. Through the use of brick masonry, stone curtain wall and wood-like aluminum alloy window frame, Honganli well integrates classical Shanghai style with modern living concepts. Its demonstration area displays one type of Lilong cluster, and also includes an Art-Deco building.

The landscape design of the demonstration area subtly blends waterscape, sunken courtyard and resting area, to provide a pleasant public space. The landscape wall is complemented by colored glass, reflecting Art Deco style. The life aesthetics experience center, integrating Shikumen architecture (one type of Lilong houses) elements with modern design, is crafted as a fashionable, elegant space. Combing Shanghai-style patterned luxury stones with simple floor patterns, the lobby turns into a space with unique charisma. The constant-temperature swimming pool adopts the layout of a sunken courtyard, which realizes the integration of indoor and outdoor spaces while bringing in natural sunlight. The dome above the pool refers to the classical arched doorway of Shikumen architecture, to highlight the design and sense of architecture in this area.

While maintaining the original style and urban fabrics, the master planning creates more spaces, more sophisticated landscapes and more spacious living zones for the residents in the community, so as to generate a high-quality lifestyle. Instead of making major changes on the architectural fabrics and structures, the project subtly adjusts the nodes along the lanes. For instance, a horizontal lane is added to form an intersection, which satisfies the firefighting requirements, improves circulation and traffic system as some roads are made accessible, and adds more landscape spaces. As old Shikumen architecture barely had a garden, the design expands the lanes in Honganli and intersperses it with rhythmic landscape nodes. This not only eliminates a sense of monotony in the original space but also beautifies the community environment.

The show flats’ design features a unique interior style. The 297 sqm show flat integrates the cultural context with Shanghai style to create a “micro-vacation” atmosphere. Its courtyard surrounded by tall enclosure walls embodies Chinese aesthetics, and meets the needs for a sense of belonging and privacy. The 381 sqm show flat is conceived with modern Oriental design languages, which weakens Shanghai style but accentuates an Oriental ambience in the space.

The indoor space of traditional Shikumen architecture, in great depth and narrow width, has poor daylighting and inappropriate scale which cannot fit with the urban citizens’ needs for comfort and life quality. Therefore, the project makes some new adjustments. For instance, the distance between buildings is enlarged and the width is expanded appropriately to carry forward the style of Lilong architecture while catering to the living habits of modern people. The new layout of houses realizes a large width and small depth, resembling that of Siheyuan. And the spatial pattern and daylighting in the Lilong are optimized. On the south orientation, ultra-large window-to-wall ratio is adopted, and the large floor-to-ceiling window on the ground floor allows for the interaction between indoor space and the courtyard with an unobstructed view. Varied house layouts are designed to meet the needs of different households. Due to the floor height limit, the design fully utilizes underground space to build garage and basement.

The project renovates and renews the retained historic buildings on the site. The old buildings are repaired and reconstructed on the original position, and the main facade, volume, and style are kept. The usage of original components and materials is maximized.

The design continues the memory of the site through the gate of Shikumen architecture, the carefully dismantled encaustic tiles, wooden columns and beams, and other old items. Compared to general stone carvings, the brick masonry gateway is technically demanding, requiring high level of craftsmanship. To optimize the details of the gates, cultural heritage conservation experts are invited to investigate the site and provide instructions, to let the architecture retain the traces of old Shanghai to the greatest extent.

Project Details
Shanghai Honganli Enterprise Development Co., Ltd.

Lu Hao, Liang Zhuomin

Project Name
Honganli Demonstration Area

World Design Awards Category
Commercial Built

Project Location
Shanghai, China

Chief project designer: Shi Chunhong; Chief architectural designer: Mu Yue; Interior decoration designer: Ding Mengzhou; Chief landscape designer: Chen Qiuhong


Photography ©Credit
©Shanghai Honganli Enterprise Development Co., Ltd.

Shanghai Honganli Enterprise Development Co., Ltd. is founded on January 22, 2021, registered in Hongkou District, Shanghai. The company is dedicated to real estate development. It’s co-funded by three property developers including China Merchants Shekou, Greentown China Holdings, and Shanghai Land Group. The company has crafted Honganli, a rare Lilong-style residential development that consists of 121 residential units within the Inner Ring Road of Shanghai. The Honganli project has created a new model for urban renewal practices in Shanghai, which not only retains the fabrics of the existing Shikumen architecture but also propels dwelling upgrading in a modern context.