The blocks on Sixin Lane are of traditional shikumen (stone-gate house) construction. Shikumen is a traditional Shanghainese architectural style that combines Western and Chinese elements, resembling Anglo-American terrace houses or townhouses, distinguished by high brick walls enclosing a narrow front yard.
The lane was elaborately designed 100 years ago by a silk merchant, Chen Xingong. Sixin Lane's location was considered by Chen as the treasure of feng shui, a Chinese philosophy harmonizing human existence with the surrounding environment, due to its location near West Lake. He built 48 shikumen with stylish decor like wood floors and suspended ceilings. Chen rented these shikumen to up-and-coming residents at high prices. At the time, Sixin Lane was a fairly wealthy area. Many well-known people settled there, including influential people from education and finance.
Later, Chen died and his sons inherited the houses. Unfortunately, the sons were addicted to gambling, and dissipated the father's wealth. The Chen family left and other people took over the shikumen.
In Hangzhou natives - eyes, Sixing Lane symbolized the history of the Republic of China (1911-1949). But the old lane has suffered in recent years. Dozens of food stalls have popped up there, making the lane polluted with waste oil and leftovers. Residents are waiting for a comprehensive renovation, hoping to bring back the area's glory days.