Joffre Arcade

542 Avenue Joffre // 542 Middle Huaihai Road // 淮海中路542弄

Former Joffre Arcade.

Architect: Boris Krivoss

Joffre Arcade 霞飞市场, 飞龙大楼

Built in 1934.

"Something fresh in the design of buildings combining apartments and shops has recently been completed by B. Krivoss, local architect, on Avenue Joffre. This is a group of flats arranged so as to stand on two sides of a small but attractive open courtyard and which is to be known as Joffre Arcade."

"On the ground floor there are 27 shops, some facing Avenue Joffre, the majority facing the central court which is charmingly laid out and contains in the centre a circular fountain. Most of the flats, which number 25, also face to this central court. A special feature of those which look on to Avenue Joffre is the extensive glass front of one room, which will on this side possess a wall stretching from floor to ceiling composed entirely of glass."

"Joffre Arcade, which is situated next to the Paris Theatre, forms a pleasant break in the regularity of the endless succession of shops on the road front. A glimpse into the courtyard with graceful fountain promises to be something in the nature of an oasis when summer days break over Shanghai again." (Shanghai Sunday Times, 9 December, 1934) The interior courtyard was praised: "The noisy traffic of Avenue Joffre is cut off effectively although it passes so close, in the precincts of Joffre Arcade. Krivoss was the architect, who has so successfully remodelled the old premises once occupied by a garage." (China Press, 15 December 1935)

At all times, most residents and store owners in Joffre Arcade were Russians, and these multiple beauty salons, barbershops, tailor shops, clinics and cafes made it into a veritable "Russian bazaar." In addition, private entrepreneurs worked from their apartments, advertising in local newspapers:"Miss Vorob, recently arrived from Hollywood, gives ballroom and stage dancing lessons. 542 Avenue Joffre, Apt 69. Phone 80254." (The China Press, 1935).

Architect's drawing of Joffre Arcade
Map of Joffre Arcade, 1939. Virtual Shanghai
Ad for Simen's Beauty Parlour in Joffre Arcade
"Quiet retreat at Joffre Arcade." China Press, 15 December 1935
Parade along Middle Huaihai Road in the 1950s; the glazed facade of the Joffre Arcade can be seen in the back. Li Shengkai
Huaihai Road in the 1980s; former Joffre Arcade on the right
Modern view of the facade. Fayhoo wikimedia commons
Interior passage.