Emmanuel Gran


"I may be not the best architect in the world, but I am the fastest."

Emmanuel Moiseevich Gran (1894–1969) 

Эммануил Моисеевич ГРАН (1894–1969). Русский текст – внизу страницы

Born on April 5, 1894, in Samara, Russia; died on June 21, 1969, in New York, USA. First wife Lydia Arnoldovna Gran (b. 1899), second wife – Delight Gran.

Gran studied architecture in Saint Petersburg, and also was a marine officer who fought against the Bolsheviks as part of the Siberian Fleet in 1917. After landing in Shanghai in 1921, he worked as an architect at Palmer & Turner for ten years. During that decade, the company completed its largest projects, including the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (1923), Yokohama Specie Bank (1924), Custom House (1926), the remodeling of the Palace Hotel (1927), Beth Aharon Synagogue (1927), Cathay Hotel (1929), Embankment Building (1931), Metropole Hotel (1931) and Hamilton House (1932). 

In his interviews in the 1960s, Gran claimed to have designed Cathay Hotel. His name, always placed near the top of the list of Palmer & Turner staff, was the only one without the credentials of the Royal Institute of British Architects. By 1932, local newspapers described Gran as the "author of many notable buildings" and "an architect with an already established reputation."   

In January 1932, E. M. Gran – " exponent of the newer tendencies of modern architectural practice" – became partner in the firm of Davies & Brooke. A year later, one of the partners – C. Gilbert Davies – died, so Emmanuel Gran and John Tallents Wynyard Brooke continued as a duo, retaining the firm's name Davies, Brooke & Gran (建兴). During the 1930s, the firm accomplished a number of large-scale projects in Shanghai, most of which survive to this day: a godown and offices for Pilkington Bros. (1933), the Lafayette Court (1933), Medhurst Apartments (1934), Yue Tuck Apartments (1934), Victor Court (1934), Commercial Bank of China, aka Development Building (1935),  Villa Bayankara and mall for Zhou Xiangyun (1936), Ashkenazi Synagogue (1937), Magnet House (1938), Hanray Mansions (1939) and two versions of the Pushkin Monument (1937 and 1947).

In 1931, together with N. N. Emanoff, E. M. Gran founded the Russian Engineering Society and was its chairman for years. He was also a lecturer in architecture and vice-president of the Higher Technical Centre of the French Concession in 1936–1941, and chairman of the ORT Society, which promoted handicrafts among Jews, in 1941. 

Davies, Brooke & Gran had a branch office in Hong Kong. In 1934, Gran was invited to design the houses for the Kadoorie Estates. By 1937, three houses, a bungalow and six semi-detached houses were completed and occupied, and by the end of 1941, 34 houses were occupied, together with 13 apartments in St. George’s Mansions. The latter building was adjacent to the China Light and Power (CLP) administration building on Argyle Street, finished in 1940. 

The 1941 issues of Hongkong and Far East Builder mention the following projects in Hong Kong: 

– Alterations and additions to Ritz Amusement Park, King's Road. Work in progress.

– One block of offices and residential building to Central Police Station, Hollywood Road. Plans approved.

– Private residence for Sir Elly Kadoorie, Castle Peak. Work in progress.

– Additions to Hong Kong Sanitarium, Happy Valley. Plans in preparation.

– Fanling Development for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Site leveling work in progress.

– Ice Cream Kiosk on Beach Road, Repulse bay. Work in progress.

– European (Spanish-style) residence for Chun Tak Kwong, Esq, on Repulse Bay Road. Work recently completed.

– Alterations to Race Course Apartments, Gray Estates, Shan Kwong Road. Work in progress.

In 1949, Gran left China and relocated to New York. He worked as architect and director of interiors for the Hilton Hotels until his death in 1969, having authored more than 45 buildings around the world. In various interviews, he stated that he had designed his first hotel in 1926; he also claimed to have designed the Cathay Hotel! He admitted to occasionally thinking about retiring. "But then last year I met an active architect who was 90 years old, and I changed my mind," he stated a few months before his death. (TWA, March 1969) 

Gran's vast collection of Chinese art, jades and scholar's objects, amassed during his time in China and exhibited at his home and workplaces, made a splash at major auctions in 2014.  

Godown and workshop, Pingliang Road


Apartments, Route Edan

1932 (unrealized?)

Chinese apartments, Northern district

1932 (unrealized?)

Apartments for S. C. Chang, Avenue Joffre

1932 (unrealized?)

Interior of Maison Arcus, Ward Building


Lafayette Court, Rue Lafayette


Residence for Z. Y. Woo, Jessfield Road


Medhurst Apartments, bubbling well road


yue tuck Apartments, tifeng road


Victor Court, rue victor emmanuel


Shops and residences, tsingtao road


AVan Villa, tifeng road



Villa Bayankara, Chinhai Road


pushkin's monument, route pichon


Japanese apartments, Quinsan Road


magnet house, szechuen road


ashkenazi synagogue, r. tenant de la tour


hanray Mansions, avenue joffre


pushkin's monument, restored version


Hong Kong works

Ultra-modern building, Kowloon

1932 (unrealized?)

Bay View Mansions, Hong Kong


Apartments in North Point, Hong Kong


Kadoorie Estates (1934–1941)

China Light and Power (CLP) building, on Argyle Street, Hong Kong, under construction in June 1940. Gwulo
St. George's Mansions, located next to the China Light and Power (CLP) building on Argyle Street, Hong Kong. Hongkong and Far East Builder, vol.6 no.3 (June & July, 1941).
The opening of St. George's Mansions on Argyle Street, Hong Kong. Youtube.
Scale model of the Gran-designed Kadoorie Estates, as if seen from across Waterloo Road. CLP and St George Mansions are on the left. Gwulo.com
One of the villas in the Kadoorie Estates, at No. 91 Kadoorie Avenue. Alison on Gwulo.com
Proposed apartment building on May Road, Hong Kong. Hongkong and Far East Builder, February & March 1941.


edgewater mansions hotel, tsingtao


List of works by Davies, Brooke & Gran

Эммануил Моисеевич Гран (1894–1969) – развернуть ⬇

Родился 5 апреля 1894 года в Самаре; умер 21 июня в Нью-Йорке, США.

Эммануил Моисеевич Гран в 1917 году окончил Школу прапорщиков флота в 1917 году и с июня 1918 года служил в белых войсках Сибирской флотилии, сражаясь на Восточном фронте. Оказавшись в Шанхае, в 1921 году Гран вступил в состав архитекторов крупной фирмы "Palmer & Turner", одновременно публикуя иллюстрации в журналах. Отсутствие аккредитации Королевского института британских архитекторов (R.I.B.A.) не помешало Грану стать одним из ведущих архитекторов компании. За время его работы в компании, она выполнила свои крупнейшие проекты: Гонконгско-Китайский банк (1923), Банк Иокогамы (1924), Таможенный союз (1924), синагога Бет Ахарон (1927), отель "Катэй" (1928), отель "Метрополь" (1931) и "Хамильтон-хауз" (1932). В 1932 году Гран был упомянут в шанхайской прессе как "автор множества известных зданий".   

В январе 1932 года, Э. М. Гран стал партнером в архитектурной фирме "Davies & Brooke", которая поменяла название на "Davies, Brooke & Gran". Через год основатель фирмы Чарльз Гилберт Дэвис умер, и Гран продолжил дело вдвоем с Джоном Бруком. Компания создала множество крупных зданий в Шанхае и за его пределами, большинство из которых сохранились по сей день: многоквартирные дома "Медхерст" (1933), "Виктор Корт" и "Юэ Так" (1934), Коммерческий банк Китая (1935), новая синагога "Охейл Моше" (1937–1940), здание "Магнет-хауз" (1938), пристройка к многоквартирному дому "Гасконь" (1938), дом "Ханрэй" (1937–1939). В тандеме с архитектором Ливиным и художниками Подгурским и Кичигиным Гран создал памятник А. С. Пушкину (1937), а впоследствии участвовал в его восстановлении в 1947 году. Фирма "Davies, Brooke & Gran" имела отделение в Гонконге (в 1940 году).

Э. М. Гран был председателем Русского Технического общества в 1934–1935 годах, вице-президентом Высшего Технического Центра Французской концессии в 1936–1941 годах и председателем общества "ОРТ", продвигавшего занятость среди евреев в 1941 году. Шанхайское отделение архитектурной фирмы "Davies, Brooke & Gran" проработало до 1947 года, а в 1948 году Э. М. Гран перебрался в Калифорнию и впоследствии в Нью-Йорк. Там он плодотворно работал архитектором и директором по интерьерам в сети отелей "Хилтон", став вице-президентом компании незадолго до своей смерти в 1969 году. За годы жизни в Китае Э. М. Гран собрал обширную коллекцию предметов традиционного искусства и изделий из нефрита, которая пошла с молотка в 2014 году.

Portrait of E. M. Gran by Sapajou. North-China Daily News, 1934
Gran's first wife Lydia Arnoldovna, in 1930. China Press
E. M. Gran in the architecture department of Hilton, 1969. TWA Skyliner
E. M. Gran in his New York apartment, 1960s. Bonhams

Lafayette Court (1933)

Buck Clayton's band on the terrace of Jimmy Carson's residence, 3 Lafayette Court. Now 1248 Middle Fuxing Road 复兴中路1248弄. UMKC Collections

Victor Court (1934)

Announcement of the opening of the Victor Court, on Rue Victor Emmanuel, now 56 Shaoxing Road 绍兴路56号. Shanghai Times, December 1934

Avan Villa (1935)

Avan Villa on Tifeng Road, built for the Tata family in 1935. Smaller houses on the property still survive at 468 Wulumuqi Road 乌鲁木齐北路468弄. Tata family, via Mishi Saran

Edgewater Mansions hotel, Qingdao (1934)

Model of Edgewater Mansions hotel, built by Davies, Brooke & Gran on the beachfront in Tsingtao (Qingdao) in 1934
Plan of the building. 青岛档案馆
Finished building c. 1935
1930s map showing Edgewater Mansions (lower right). willysthomas.net
Postcard with Edgewater Mansions 东海饭店, Tsingtao 青岛

Villa Bayankara and commercial buildings on Love Lane and CHinhai Road (1936)

Newspaper announcement of the development on the corner of Love Lane and Chinhai Road, including the residence Villa Bayankara (center). Shanghai Sunday Times, December 1935.
Map from 1939. Virtual Shanghai.
Facade of the commercial building on Love Lane, c 1939. Metromod.
Modernist Villa Bayankara, designed by Emmanuel Gran, photographed c. 2000; now part of Yueyang Hospital, 44 Qinghai Road. Tracing Back: The Excellent Architecture of Modern Times in Shanghai (2002).
Entrance to the former Villa Bayankara 周家花园, now part of Yueyang Hospital, 44 Qinghai Road. 高参88.
Plaque on Villa Bayankara 周家花园, 44 Qinghai Road. 高参88.
Elements of the interior, Villa Bayankara. Tengxun.
Elements of the interior, Villa Bayankara. Tengxun.
Elements of the exterior, Villa Bayankara. ShanghaiWow.

Pushkin’s Monument (1937)

Unsigned drawing of the Pushkin's monument, published in the brochure Pushkin Centenary, 1837–1937