The Mc Bain Building - Shanghai

Mc Bain Building 1 The Bund Shanghai

Mc Bain Building 1 The Bund Shanghai is a historical eight-storey building on the Bund in Shanghai, China.The building was built in 1916 as McBain Building on the corner of the Bund (currently 1 East-1 Zhongshan Road) and Avenue Edward VII (today’s East Yan’an Road), a location known as No.1 on the Bund, near the former French Concession. It stands on a site of 1739 square metres and has a floor area of 11,723 square metres.I t was the tallest and one of the largest buildings in Shanghai upon its completion. This fact, adding to its precious location earned it a widespread nickname ‘Number One Building on the Bund’ (外滩第一楼). The building was designed by Moorhead&Halse, a famous architectural firm in Shanghai back then and built by contractor Yu Chang Tai. Initially the building was seven stories tall, an extra storey was added atop in 1939.

The lot of the building originally belonged two British brothers James and Hayes Hogg, whose trading company Hogg Brothers opened in Shanghai in 1861. In 1899 the brothers decided to close their business in Shanghai and return to Britain. They sold the property to British merchant George McBain, whose company constructed this current building after demolishing an original house on the site.

In 1917, one year after its completion the Royal Dutch Shell’s Asiatic Petroleum division, which sold kerosene and candles used for lighting before electric lights were invented, bought in much of the building and renamed it the Asia Building.During the Japanese occupation of Shanghai the building was taken over by the Japanese and most of the staff, mainly British, fled Shanghai and relocated in Chongqing. The majority of them returned to Shanghai and continued working in the building after the occupation while the company’s profits soared to unprecedented levels. After the People’s Republic of China was established, some branches of the company in China closed down, only some 50 employees remained in Shanghai.