The most representative house style of Shanghai

Shikumen combines the architecture styles of southern China and western countries.


Shikumen, literally meaning ‘Stone Warehouse Gate’, is regarded as the most representative house style of Shanghai as the Hutongs and Courtyards are representative of Beijing. It is so named due to the stone door frame. This sort of residence combines the architecture styles of southern China and western countries.

These residences can date back to the 1870s, when the Taiping Rebellion against the domination of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) broke out. Due to the turbulent warfare, the businessmen, ministers and wealthy people had to move to the concession for protection. As a result, many foreign estate businessmen had a large number of residences built to earn money. Those residences were therefore inspired by western style.

The most representative house style of Shanghai

A Shikumen Residence is usually a two-floor building constructed with bricks and wood. On the sloping roof is a dormer window. It has a stone gate frame and wooden doors. Two copper door-knockers echo in the whole lane when they are struck. As the residences are usually linked, a lane naturally comes into being. At the end of the lane, a traditional archway can usually be found.

The overall framework of the residence is in the architectural style of the courtyards in south China. The indoor furniture and necessity arrangement are also designed based on the representative architectural style. While from the outside, the block of residences looks like western-style townhouses. Moreover, the lintel was usually constructed with Chinese traditional bricks and black tiles.

The most representative house style of Shanghai

Here are two measures to know more about Shikumen:

Shikumen Residence Museum

It presents not only the typical Shanghai architectural style, but also revives the life space and style of the local residents. 

Location: No. 25, Lane 181, Taicang Road, Luwan District

Entrance Fee: CNY20 per adult
                     CNY10 for people above 60 years old
                     CNY10 for children of 12 years old and younger

Opening Time: Sunday – Thursday: 10:30 – 22:30
                      Friday and Saturday: 11:00 – 23:00

Transportation: At Shanghai Railway Station, take subway line 1 and get off at South Huangpi Road. Then walk about 350 m (about 383 yd) to the museum.

Shikumen Residence Household Museum

Every Saturday, visitors can visit this museum to experience the typical local life. 

Location: No.25, Lane 28, Yongkang Road, Xuhui District

Entrance Fee: Free

Transportation:

From Shanghai Railway Station, take subway line 1 and get off at South Shaanxi Road. Getting out through Exit 6, walk about 900m to the museum. 
Or take bus no. 104 at the South Square of Shanghai Railway Station to Yongjia Road, South Shaanxi Road. After that, walk about 500 m (about 547 yd) to the museum.