Medhurst Apartments

934 Bubbling Well Road // 南京西路934号 // 934 West Nanjing Road, corner of Taixing Road

Medhurst Apartments 麦特赫斯脱公寓

Owners: Metropolitan Land Co.

Contractors: New Shanghai Construction Co. 新申营造厂

Started in December 1932; opened for occupation in March 1934

At the time of its opening, the Medhurst – "a million-dollar building" – was "one of the most modern apartment houses with service facilities for those who desire them." (NCH, Jan 10, 1934) It had Western and Eastern wings and a penthouse; on the ground floor there was a lobby and multiple shops. "Modern conceptions dominate the outward appearance while the interior was arranged after detailed study to fulfill the peculiar needs of the Shanghai resident and the demands of modern city life." (TCP, Mar 1, 1934) The entrance to the building, "done in warm traverteen stone" gave "an indication of taste and dignity of the furnishings throughout." (Ibid)

The Western wing had 16 self-contained apartments of three or four rooms, 2 apartments per floor, "thus assuring the maximum window space." (TCP, Apr 13, 1934) The Eastern wing had serviced apartments, of one or two rooms each, with attached bathrooms. "The rooms are tastefully furnished long modern lines and embody a soothingly quiet color scheme. Imported upholstery and carpets of special design give an indication of the care that is given to the furnishing of these distinguished residential apartments." (Ibid)

Each of the two penthouse apartments consisted of "a large airy dining room, study, sunporch, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and spacious kitchen with a roof garden." (Ibid) The ninth floor, executed in the modern style with Chinese motifs, had a restaurant, "furnished with warmth and gaiety," a cocktail bar and "secluded" lounges. (TCP, Mar 1, 1934) All apartments had separate entrances for servants, and there were stairs for their use, while the residents and guests could use three elevators. There was also a large service lift and a food lift supplying the service kitchens in Eastern wing.

Introducing "a higher and more luxurious standard of living," the Medhurst represented "an embodiment of the latest methods of design, construction and modern sanitation." Heat and fixtures were supplied by Gordon & Co., China Deep Well Drilling Co. took care of the plumbing, there were Grinnell sprinklers as fire precautions, and "radio and telephone service in each apartment." (SST, Dec 25, 1933) The apartments' windows had Venetian shades from Nippon Products; the kitchens had Frigidaire refrigerators; Wal Shion Furniture Co. supplied the furnishings.

Architectural drawing of the building
Advertising for Medhurst Apartments, Christmas Supplement to North-China Daily News, 10 Dec 1932.
Plan of the Western (left) and Eastern (right) wings of the Medhurst Apartments. TCP, April 13, 1934
Plan of the ninth floor, with a restaurant, lounges and a kitchen. TCP, April 13, 1934
Ad for the contractor, New Shanghai Construction Co. 新申营造厂. The Builder 建筑月刊, 1933
View over Bubbling Well Road from a window in the Western wing in the 1930s.
Interior of the restaurant on the 9th floor. China Press, Apr 13, 1934
"This is the reception room which links the lounge and dining room on the 9th floor. It is furnished with blue upholstered modern furniture. The most unique thing in this room is the double windows and the flowers that are placed on the sill between the glass. These flowers are illuminated at night by concealed electric lights." China Press, Apr 13, 1934
Medhurst soon after the opening, with ground floor stores still under construction. The Architect 建筑月刊, 1934
Medhurst Apartments. Le journal de Shanghai, 14 Jul 1936
View toward the International Settlement from the Cathay Mansions in the French Concession. Medhurst is towering on the horizon, in the center. Flickr Cities in old Days
Former Medhurst Apartments, now 泰兴公寓. Zhang Xuefei for SHINE