"URBANCROSS Gallery" is an alternative multifunctional space within Hengfu historic district, located in the intersection of Donghu Road, Xinle Road, Changle Road, Fumin Road, and Yanqing Road. It is part of our neighborhood renovation project in Xuhui, Shanghai.
Land reformation in the past decades has weakened the idea of community and neighborhood. Along with the surging of real estate development, old residential neighborhoods are facing either dilapidation or large-scale redevelopment. Under this circumstance, the neighborhoods find itself burdened by fragmented urban space which is situated between property lines and lack of stewardship. The storefront of 37 Donghu Road was a typical fragment left out by new development. It was previously a tire store; whose bustling car maintenance business used to occupy the street corner and bring traffic congestions for the surrounding neighborhoods.
Facing these challenges, we proposed an alternative solution towards urban renewal, i.e., inserting a hotspot with public programs. As the architects of this spatial transformation, we are also the designers of the new programs. After a well-thought-through remodeling of this 20-square-meter storefront on the ground floor, we created this gallery as a "node" of micro-networks in the historic district of Xu Hui. We envisioned the space as a window. On the one hand, grounded in the neighborhood, URBANCROSS can efficiently crosslink the historical, cultural and social perspectives of Hengfu and present to a broader community. On the other hand, the locals could glance the outer world through its diversified curatorial practice and creative display strategies. Moreover, through the participation of the public, it encourages dialogues across geographic and disciplinary boundaries.
URBANCROSS Gallery is a physical exhibition space located at the main intersection of Hengfu as well as an online information platform. It is beyond just the neighborhood’s focal point. It is also the cities’ frontage of its renewal processes. It is not only a hinge of historical and cultural resources in the region but a hub of innovative ideas in art and architecture.