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New snapshots of old ShanghaiBy Zhang Kun
Hungarian architect Laszlo Hudec had a significant impact on how Shanghai looked in the 1930s. Now enthusiasts and newcomers can enjoy an exhibition of Hudec's masterpieces through photographs of his work as captured by Shanghainese photographer and publisher Deke Erh.

On exhibition at the newly restored and refurbished Grand Cinema on Nanjing Road, the event marks the conclusion of Shanghai's "Year of Hudec" and follows a series of other exhibitions, seminars and city tours to the historical buildings organized by the Hungarian consulate.

Hudec's most famous creations include the Grand Cinema, Moore Memorial Church, Union Brewery and Park Hotel. The latter for many years stood as the highest building in Shanghai.

Showcasing 40 photographs taken over the last decade, Erh pays special attention to the influence of art deco on Hudec's work.

"Hudec strikes me as an incredibly versatile architect," said Erh. "He played with buildings using all kinds of styles that we can find in Western history, each with their own various functions."

"While most architects focus on one specific field, he built factories, schools, residences and churches," said Erh. "Many of Hudec's buildings stand the test of time, still impressing visitors after decades of social change."

"Let's take the Grand Cinema as a case in point. It's highly original and makes good use of the unique shape of the land," said Erh. "The building still looks modern and fashionable today."

Hudec went out of his way to come up with the best designs, Erh said.
"He managed to stay on good terms with contractors. In the case of the Park Hotel, he persuaded the builder to go to all lengths and spare no expense to create a masterpiece."

Fascinated by Hudec and his legacy in Shanghai, Erh made a trip to Hungary to examine the famous architect's background.

"His family was in the construction business, and he was educated at a very fine university in Budapest," said Erh. "However, Europe was under a dark cloud, what with World War II having just ended, and the dissolution of the Austria-Hungary empire."

When Hedec arrived in Shanghai in 1918, he finally found a playground for his talents. He did not design any more buildings after leaving China in 1947.

Until May 30

2F, Grand Cinema

216 Nanjing Road W.

Tel: 6341-0564
source: (China Daily)

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