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Life comes full circle in the city’s ‘foreign lanes’
By He Liyao

Nicknamed “foreign lanes” today, Columbia Circle was a popular late 1920s property spanning the then Columbia Road, now Panyu Road and Amherst Avenue, now Xinhua Road. At that time, growing demand for luxury houses with big gardens pushed Western developers to turn their attention toward less dense ly inhabited areas. With a nose for business, American engineer/merchant Frank Raven and his Asia Realty Company bought around 66,000 square meters of land in Columbia Circle to build homes. Hudec left prolific works there.


Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Engineering and Laboratory Building of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which cost

US$500,000 at the time, was constructed by Voh Kee Construction Company, Hudec’s

trustworthy collaborator on an array of projects including the Park Hotel. Enclosed

by walls with a large yard inside, the steel-and-concrete lab building has a simple Art Deco facade.


Yesterday and today: Engineering and Laboratory Building of Shanghai Jiao Tong


Built: In 1930-32

Architectural style: Art Deco

Address: 1954 Huashan Rd

Tips: The building opens to the public for free. You can also visit the other historic

buildings on campus including the old library built in 1919.

Hudec’s residence

The three-story Tudorbethan villa was the second residence for Hudec’s family in Shanghai. It is a spacious, Spanish-style house. Three sets of Gothic windows and a round arched door are on the ground floor. A big garden lies to the south.


Yesterday: Hudec’s residence

Today: Hudec Memorial Hall

Built: In 1930

Architectural style: Tudor

Address: 129 Panyu Rd

Tips: The memorial hall opens to the public on Tuesdays (1:30-4pm) and Sundays (9am-

12pm, 1:30-4pm).

Hubertus Court

Nicknamed the “Little Park Hotel” with an area of 3,000 square meters, it is a Laszlo Hudec building in every way and his family lived in it. The simple shape and smooth horizontal lines reflect a strong modern European influence. Its body features a modern compact layout, a simple facade of milky stucco and cantilevered balconies with curved corners.


Yesterday: Hubertus Court 

Today: Shanghai Jinjiang Metropolo Hotel Dahua

Built: In 1937

Architectural style: Modern

Address: 918 Yan’an Rd W.

Tips: The facade can be appreciated from the garden and on Yan’an Road W. The view from Yan’an Elevated Road is perfect. The lobby of the hotel opens to the public.

Normandie Apartments

As the earliest Veranda-style apartments in Shanghai, the building is a signature Hudec work during his time with the R.A. Curry firm. Its steep, sharp-headed shape symbolizes a powerful warship. The ground floor featured a rainbow of shops. The facade is graced by an arcade.


Yesterday: Normandie Apartments

Today: Wukang Building

Built: In 1923-26

Architectural style: French Renaissance

Address: 1836-1858 Huaihai Rd M.

Tips: The suites are not open to the public. Some obscure stories about Hudec and the

Normandie Apartments will appear in the April 3 edition of Shanghai Daily.

Click HERE to enjoy Hudec's prolific works near the Bund and People's Square.

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