July 21st, 2021

Villa Bayankara and other hidden landmarks off West Nanjing Road


Historic plaque on the wall of Villa Bayankara, at 44 Qinghai Road. Bayankara (Bayan Har) is a mountain range in Qinghai Province. Image: 高参88.



Among the archival photos and artworks illustrating the Shanghai virtual walk on Metromod, there are exterior and interior views of the Café Europe. It was located at 15 Love Lane, in a modernist building with a distinct rounded corner. It was designed by Emmanuel Gran as part of a residential and commercial complex for the real estate tycoon Zhou Xiangyun 周湘云. Somewhat changed, all four buildings still stand, incorporated into the Yueyang Hospital.

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The architect's drawing shows the side view of prospective developement, as if looking west from Chinhai (Qinghai) Road:


The building with the Café Europe later housed Mayflower restaurant (Cantonese cuisine), from which it takes its present name, the Mayflower Business Center 五月花商务中心, with the address 15 Wujiang Road 吴江路15号. It has undergone many rounds of cladding, painting and glazing. At six floors of height, it also taller than the one on Gran's drawing. But the footprint has not changed since the pre-1949 era, so perhaps it is the same building.

This photo from around 2000 shows the Mayflower building at the bottom:

Image: 163.net.

Zhou's residence, named Villa Bayankara, is now at 44 Qinghai Road 青海路44号; the narrow building wedged between it and Mayflower has also survived:


Gran was only person responsible for this project (as well as all other projects of Davies, Brooke and Gran). Davies had died in 1933, and Brooke was in London. Read more about Villa Bayankara and see its photos on Building Russian Shanghai.

The former entertainment building, in the south part of the lot, looked better in 2015 than it does now:


The entire developement on the southwest corner of Love Lane and Chinhai Road, in 1948:




So... is it +4 for the Russians? Read more on Building Russian Shanghai.