Peace Hotel No 20 The Bund Shanghai which overlooks the Huangpu River. The hotel today operates as two separate businesses. The North Building, built as Sassoon House, originally housed the Cathay Hotel and is today the Fairmont Peace Hotel run by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts of Canada. The South Building was built as the Palace Hotel and is today the Swatch Art Peace Hotel. The two buildings both face the Bund, but are divided by Nanjing Road.
The larger North Building, located at Number 20, The Bund, is called Sassoon House. It was built by Sir Victor Sassoon, of the Sassoon family, which built a Shanghai business and real estate empire in the early 20th century. He was a British Sephardic Jew of Iraqi origin, educated at Harrow School and Cambridge University. His family managed extensive business holdings in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Calcutta. Sassoon House was the first high-rise building built by Victor Sassoon, and one of the first skyscrapers in the Eastern Hemisphere. It was designed by architects Palmer and Turner, with a reinforced concrete structure. Construction began in 1926, and was completed in 1929.
The building occupies 4,617 square meters (15,148 square feet), and offers 36,317 square meters (119,150 square feet) of floor space. The building is ten stories in height, and the tenth floor is a penthouse, where Victor Sassoon once lived. The North Building is 77 meters (253 feet) high to the roofline, and 83 meters (272 feet) to the spire.
The builders followed a consistent art deco scheme, from exterior design to interior decor. Most of the building features granite facing, while the ninth floor and the roof are surfaced with terracotta. The eastern facade (facing the Huangpu River and the Bund) features a pyramidal roof with steep sides, and a height of about 10 meters (33 feet). The pyramid is faced with copper, which has corroded to light green.
Banks and shops leased the ground floor space until 1949. This space became the Shanghai branch of Citibank in 2002. The fourth through ninth floors once housed the Cathay Hotel.