One of the highlights of my trip to Shanghai was an exclusive look at the elusive Green House, the former mansion of Mr. D.V. Woo (Wu Tongwen), a paint and dye tycoon who lived here with his two wives and their families. There’s a lotus-leaf shaped elevator in the house so the wives wouldn’t have to interact much. The house now belongs to the government and is rarely open to the public. I was lucky to get an official tour.
Designed by architect Laszlo Hudec in the 1930s, the Green House was named after Woo’s favorite color. It’s an Art Deco gem that is still in great shape.
Here are some more views of the house from the back yard.
And here are photos of the patio out back.
And some great detailing on the back fence.
The inside was just as stunning. This is a front stairwell.
And the servants’ staircase.
More beautiful ironwork, this one located near the front staircase.
Even the vents were Art Deco in design. This house had central heat, which I heard wasn’t uncommon in Shanghai before 1949. Then it was stripped from most homes.
More of the vent along with a reflection selfie taken from the outside.
The most chilling part of the house is the sun room, where the guide nonchalantly told us Mr. Woo and his second wife took their lives in 1966 at the start of the Cultural Revolution. (The first wife moved to another building in Shanghai.) Some of the windows are still the original (I think the blue ones, but was distracted by the suicide story, so can’t quite remember).
In Woo’s bedroom with his second wife, there was a safe where he kept the blueprints so no one could replicate the house. And no one ever did.
I feel so fortunate to have gotten a good look at it.