Five ancient villas in Qingdao, Shandong province, that date back to the 1890s were opened to the public as modern arts centers, as part of the city's efforts to infuse new life into old buildings.
The buildings are located in the Badaguan area, a major local scenic spot containing a 70-hectare architectural complex featuring various foreign design styles, including those from Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and Spain.
The area has long become a hot attraction for wedding photography and relaxing breaks, as well as a shooting location for films.
One of the re-opened villas became the Taipingwan Modern Art Museum. It also became the venue for the city's first beer and music festival, held in August this year.
According to a city government report released earlier this year, Shinan district, home to Badaguan and 80 percent of Qingdao's historical relics, is expected to be revitalized as a fashion center while preserving both natural and cultural resources.
"The 5,000-square-meter Taipingwan Modern Art Museum and the recently opened sculpture garden are just the beginning of the revitalization of Shinan's historical areas," said a local official.
"Walking into the Badaguan area is like visiting an international architecture museum since every building can represent a different country," he added.
In the next three to five years, the district government plans to renovate more of these old buildings with different focuses, to construct a public cultural cluster combining history, art and entertainment.
The district's revitalization move is in line with Qingdao's overall urban development plan. The charming and prosperous city has already featured remarkable cultural identities and good ecology.
Qingdao Party Chief Zhang Jiangting, who is also the major designer of the plan, said Shinan district should become both a fashion center and a cultural hub of Qingdao through the revitalization move.
Chen Meiling contributed to the story
(China Daily 11/08/2017 page12)