My roommate and I rose at 8am to the chugging and hissing sounds of the charter bus parked in front out of our building, waiting for us all to file in and explore the parts of Shanghai that have demonstrated urban development/industrialization in recent decades. Today, the itinerary held plans to visit a former Shanghai slaughterhouse which has been redeveloped to hold office spaces, creative coffee shops, upscale furniture boutiques, photography studios to name a few. It was interesting to notethat development does not always entail sky-scraping buildings and touch screen conference tables, but also the redesign of historical buildings. All seated and ready en route Shanghai’s 1933 slaughterhouse.
The captivating spiral architecture of the slaughterhouse, a photographer’s playground, was undeniably creative, unique, and functional. I was surprised at the wide variety of businesses located in this complex from coffee shops with roaming animals to a Ferrari Owner’s club to a ballroom to investment firms. For me, the complex held a slightly eerie feeling as it seemed deserted, quiet, dark, damp, and gray with (questionable) stains on the concrete.
I have to admit, there are a few things I would have liked to see in this exhibit to enhance a visitor’s experience. Along with other students, we felt a bit lost exploring the maze, wondering where each process of the slaughterhouse was taking place (i.e. where cattle was contained, how meat was packaged, etc.) or in what order we should explore the levels. I do think that with some signs, preferably with picture comparing the sight before and after the redesign, would have been a tremendous help in understand the direct changes.