Concession Architecture in Hankow

Kincheng Banking Corporation, British Concession

Kincheng Banking Corporation, British Concession

Behind the Hankow Bund lies a wealth of Concession-era architecture, surprisingly well-preserved and many still functioning as their (close-to-) original purpose.

As per the Bund, the documentation is poor and many of the buildings are not marked out; even if they were, the names of the buildings are in Chinese and it is almost impossible to make out what they may have been in their original languages.

The following provides a glimpse into the different architectural styles in the five former concession areas – the British, Russian, French, German and Japanese. There are simply too many buildings to photograph, and these images suggest the wealth of heritage still standing.

The Former British Concession

The British Concession area is the best preserved, with an amazing wealth of monumental, commercial and shophouse architecture.

Two major thoroughfares that one must walk down are Jianghan Road – equivalent to Nanking Road in Shanghai; and today’s Sun Yat Sen Road, which marks the western boundary of the British Concession.

Commercial architecture on Jianghan Road - Hankow's shopping street.

Commercial architecture on Jianghan Road – Hankow’s shopping street.

The former Bank of Taiwan Building, Jianghan Road.

The former Bank of Taiwan Building, Jianghan Road.

The former Shanghai Bank Hankow Branch Building, Jianghan Road.

The former Shanghai Bank Hankow Branch Building, Jianghan Road.

The former Yokohama Specie Bank Building, Sun Yat Sen Road.

The former Yokohama Specie Bank Building, Sun Yat Sen Road.

The former Bank of China (established by the Qing Dynasty), Sun Yat Sen Road.

The former Bank of China (established by the Qing Dynasty), Sun Yat Sen Road.

Art Deco Bank Building, Jianghan Road.

Art Deco Bank Building, Jianghan Road.

Art Deco Bank Building, Sun Yat Sen Road.

Art Deco Bank Building, Sun Yat Sen Road.

Shophouse architecture along Sun Yat Sen Road.

Shophouse architecture along Sun Yat Sen Road.

Catholic Church on Shanghai Street.

Catholic Church on Shanghai Street.

British Concession area villas on the verge of being demolished.

British Concession area villas on the verge of being demolished.

The Former Russian Concession

The Russian Concession begins at the Hankow Orthodox Church – which was, unfortunately being renovated at the time of my visit. It is known for its squares, one of which features here.

Hankow Russian Orthodox Church, being restored.

Hankow Russian Orthodox Church, being restored.

Lutheran Missionary Home, around one of the Concession area's famous squares.

Lutheran Missionary Home, around one of the Concession area’s famous squares.

The Huiluo Company (?), around the same square.

The Huiluo Company (?), around the same square.

The Russian Concession Housing Search Agency, around the same square.

The Russian Concession Housing Search Agency, around the same square.

Bangke Gardens, around the same square.  These apartments were built by and housed Hankow's White Russian community.

Bangke Gardens, around the same square. These apartments were built by and housed Hankow’s White Russian community.

Bagong Apartments.

Bagong Apartments.

Dent & Co offices, at the edge of the Russian Concession.

Dent & Co offices, at the edge of the Russian Concession.

Apartment Blocks

Apartment Blocks

Former residence of Zhan Tian You.

Former residence of Zhan Tian You.

The Former French Concession

French Concession architecture is a little more elaborate than the British, but somewhat less monumental. Villas dominate. A key landmark is the YMCA Building.

The former YMCA Building.

The former YMCA Building.

Luojiabei Residences - French built residences for the Chinese.

Luojiabei Residences – French built residences for the Chinese.

The former Wuhua Hotel.

The former Wuhua Hotel.

The former French Archives.

The former French Archives.

French commercial architecture.

French commercial architecture.

The former Train Company offices.

The former Train Company offices.

Municipal Offices.

Municipal Offices.

The Former German Concession

The German Concession was the first to be returned to the Chinese, and as such it has the least number of heritage buildings still remaining. That said, look closely, and one may still find the silhouette of a former villa, or even actual villas still standing, behind the commercial facades.

Former Bank Building.

Former Bank Building.

Silhouette of German architectural forms...

Silhouette of German architectural forms…

German villa behind contemporary facade.

German villa behind contemporary facade.

Another villa.

Another villa.

Villa.

Villa.

The Former Japanese Concession

Finally, the Japanese Concession, like Japan itself, has a quaint, other-worldly atmosphere. Streets are lined with plane trees and pretty, almost-European storybook villas. The occasional traditional Japanese roof appears. Blink and you miss it.

Interestingly architectural form - possibly a former teahouse?

Interestingly architectural form – possibly a former teahouse?

Japanese storybook villa.

Japanese storybook villa.

Japanese storybook villa II.

Japanese storybook villa II.

Japanese municipal offices.

Japanese municipal offices.

Note the Japanese-style roof.  These are apartments today but perhaps they may have been a temple in the concession-era?

Note the Japanese-style roof. These are apartments today but perhaps they may have been a temple in the concession-era?

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, China, Cities & Regions, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Concession Architecture in Hankow

  1. John Ward says:

    Many thanks for your great pics of Hankow. One building which particularly interested me is the a@artment building at Bangke Gardens. It seems to be an early modern movement building with light green tiling on the exterior and coloured tiles on the semi-circular bow windows to either side of the entrance. Do you have any more information about this building, architect, client, construction date. I visited this area literally a couple of weeks ago and saw another building with some commonalities, the Russian Concession Municipal Building (title?) with a curved corner tower in similar moderne style, with dates of 1930 on the heritage plaque. Could there be a connection?

    Otherwise please keep blogging.

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