What do you do with an unused slaughterhouse? One of the most unusual historic buildings in Shanghai is 1933 Old Millfun, the former Shanghai Industry Bureau Slaughter House, constructed in 1933 and in its day one of the largest slaughter house in China. This reinforced-concrete building has an art deco exterior that hides the unusual environment inside. A series of different building blocks are connected by stairways and flying walkways, designed to meet the different stages and processes of the slaughter house, from the animals arriving to processed meat leaving.
The structure was advanced for its time, designed by the British architect Balfours and using pre-cast concrete shipped from the UK. Umbrella-shaped columns support flat concrete slabs within the buildings and the flying walkways are fairly unique. 1933 Old Millfu was empty for some time and now has been refurbished for restaurants, shops, creative businesses and art galleries, celebrating its former history in its marketing and taking inspiration from Les Halles in Paris and the Meatpacking District in New York. The 31,700 sq metre buildings is a popular location for fashion shows, product releases, conferences, concerts and other activities, including even wedding photographs.
Meanwhile in London, the future of the old derelict Smithfield Market buildings remains unresolved.