for his latest project, cody ellingham explores shanghai and the intricate communal shikumen lane houses that are unique to the city’s oldest districts. as part of his ‘shanghai streets’ series, the new zealand based photographer has set out to capture the historic homes before they are torn down and replaced. with newer buildings seen rising distantly in the background, the images highlight the smaller scale of the older lane houses amongst a rapidly changing city.
all images © cody ellingham
the structures, part inspired by the chinese ‘hutong’ style housing of the capital and heavily influenced by french and british colonial and art deco styles, were built in their thousands between the end of the 19th century and world war two. photographed at night by ellingham, the combination of darkness and swathes of neon color makes for an atmospheric collection of images, giving viewers a sense of the lively neighborhoods and highlighting the relationship between the old and new architecture.
ellingham describes the series: ‘the founding myth of shanghai was that it was the brilliant new city pulled from swampland, the pearl of the orient, but it also was a bourgeois place of money and vice. in the old days the city was split into three areas: the french concession, the international settlement, and the laoximen chinese district. much of the former french concession retains a european vibe – the terrace houses and tree-lined avenues could be barcelona or paris, but they are not. this is china, with its noisy meat markets, modified electric motorbikes, bundles of live wires dangling from rooftops, humming neon lights and a dense smog reflecting the changing city below. card games and shops sprawling out onto the street give it a community atmosphere.’
project name: ‘shanghai streets’
photography: cody ellingham
edited by: lynne myers | designboom
architectural photography (194 articles)
architecture in china (1084 articles)
architecture in shanghai (117 articles)
photography (200 articles)
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