Yongfu Road, near West Fuxing Road. Image source
The images above is a veritable Russian row in the west French Concession. The apartment house on the left (No. 72) was designed by I. P. Tomashevsky, the one in the center (No. 70) – by A. V. Kooklin, and the Friendship Apartments on the right (No. 69) – by N. N. Emanoff.
Ever wanted to know who created those cute mini-apartments frequently found in the West French Concession? Often painted light-yellow, with strong art deco lines, portholes and minimalist ironwork? Many of them are the work of Ilarion Tomashevsky, a Russian architect active around the year 1940, who promoted the concept of "midget apartments." They were described as "not exceeding four stories in height, walk-up type, the remarkable feature being the very economical and sometimes ingenious planning to suit the small lots they are situated on." Tomashevsky's "midget apartments" are now found on Yongfu Road, West Fuxing Road, Kangping Road, Wukang Road and Taiyuan Road.
You can read Tomashevsky's bio and see his work at Building Russian Shanghai.
The lot where Delastre Apartments was built, at today's 238 Taiyuan Road 太原路238号.
Attention, experts! Help me confirm the existence of this villa on Wukang Road, also designed by Tomashevsky:
Its description in 1941 was as follows:
"Modern in every respect, the residence possesses many attractive features, which the architect conceived to make it a most comfortable place of habitation for the owner. Having a wide southern exposure, the houses faces a spacious garden and is approached by a concrete driveway running at the side of one of the boundaries of the site. In the centre of the ground floor opening on to a quarry tile paved terrace is located the main living room. Of very generous dimensions, this room is designed on conservative modern lines and is ingeniously illuminated in the evening by concealed lighting. An attractive fireplace of black and bottoccino marble and a recessed bar are the main features of this room. Over the fireplace is located a large mural with a modern motif, one of the several in this residence executed by the well-known Russian artist V. Podgoursky.
Connected with the living room by a wide archway and located on a somewhat higher level, is the dining room. The walls of this room are panelled the full height with Australian walnut. The floors of both rooms are parquet of Japanese peach wood. The study, located at the north-east corner of the house, is designed in dignified old English style, with a low panelling, heavy wood ceiling beams and a Tudor fireplace built of artificial stone. Built-in book cases of design to match the room line the walls and a mural painting depicting a rural English landscape are additional features in this room. A mosaic-paved sun-porch with a large corner window occupies the southeast corner of the house. In addition to these rooms on the ground floor, there is a large kitchen and pantry with built-in furniture, and the usual lavatories, boiler room, etc., together with a double garage.
The upper floor is reached by a well-lit circular stairway and consists of of four main bedrooms, two bathrooms and a servants'' wing. The bathrooms are equipped with imported American coloured sanitary fixtures and are finished off in harmonizing high grade terrazzo. All bedrooms possess roomy well-equipped wall closets. In addition to all these modern conveniences, the residence is equipped with an air-conditioning and air-heating system of the latest design."