A historical building in Putuo District will reopen in June as the health service center of Changshou sub-district community after renovation.
The building, located at 170 Changshou Road, was first built in 1927 as the residence of businessman Pan Yuantai. In 1951, Soong Ching-ling, who was then vice chairperson of the People’s Republic of China and also widow of Dr Sun Yat-sen, turned the building into a maternal and children hospital. In 1956 it became Putuo District’s maternity hospital and continued until 2014.
After reopening in June, the building will be able to house 78 patients and deal with 200 outpatients every day. Hu Shicheng, the director of the health center, told Shanghai Daily that he wishes to carry on Soong’s will by both protecting the building and inheriting the spirit of service from the old days.
Pan’s residence has had multiple refurbishments and expansion over the past 90 years which has largely changed the structure of the building and posed challenges to the renovation team as they attempted to bring back the original style of the building.
“The external walls of the building were brushed too many times in the past, it didn’t protect but damaged the building,” said Wu Heping from Shanghai Construction No. 5 Group Co who led the renovation project. “Many structures inside the building were also damaged or decayed over time.”
After consulting experts from Tongji University, the team decided to restore the granite plaster facade.
Workers first applied paint remover around the building and used water cannon to uncover the original facade. But workers found the wall was damaged badly due to natural weathering and human activity over time, so they mixed pebbles of different colors with mortar and brush them onto the wall to make it look like the original.
More than half of the railings at the balcony on the second floor were damaged beyond repair. Workers modelled rail pillars after the original ones. “It took about a week to make one,” said Shen. “We had more than 40 (railings) to make.”
While renovating the building, the team found that it used to have a courtyard that was remoulded into a lobby. “We built a glass ceiling instead of the iron suspended ceiling so that the sunlight can shine through like the old days,” said Wu.
Another surprise the team found while renovating the ceiling was the traditional Chinese style carved beams enclosed in the ceiling of the first floor. Wu and her co-workers retained part of the beams and refurbished them.