On July 5, ECNU officially re-opened its gate at No. 3663, North Zhongshan Road. The gate, which was built in 1994, had remained unrenovated since then.
The gate had been on this site since the founding of the Great China University, one of the precursors of ECNU. ECNU, which was founded in 1951 on the site of the Great China University, retained the original style of the gate at first, but moved it 20 meters northwards and enlarged it to ensure it is located on the university’s axis and match the breadth of the main road.
The new gate on North Zhongshan Road was built in May 1994, featuring a steel-concrete composite structure cased in granite. It is 15 meters in height and12 meters in width, with a total width of 22 meters. The university name on the lintel was written by Shu Tong, a well-known calligrapher.
Chen Ying, the gate designer who is now a renowned architect, recalled how ECNU solicited proposals for the design of the gate in an interview.
“Knowing that I was then a student in the Department of Architecture of Tongji University, Mr. Yuan Yunkai, President of ECNU, asked my father if I was interested in this design competition. I was glad to have this opportunity, since I had grown up in ECNU.” Chen said. “The former gate, simple and elegant, represents the typical temperament of ECNU, but it would be dwarfed by the elevated road then under construction. Therefore, it was inappropriate either in size or style.”
Thus, she proposed to make the gate taller and wider retain the red brick facade, and add to it a decorative arch. “This not only increases the size of the gate, but also makes it look simple and dignified.” The renovation this time is also recognized by Chen Ying. According to her, since the adhesion method adopted in constructing the gate at that time may result in water marks and stains, it is wise to choose the new light-colored granite with relatively fine-grained texture, which prevents the penetration of rainwater. She also loves the new color used, as it matches the overall style of the gate.
According to the Office of Construction of ECNU, the renovation this time aims to retain the original style of the gate and be simple and innovative at the same time. It inherits the profound history and culture of ECNU and demonstrates its innovative spirit and cultural vitality.
Author: Xu Xincheng
Copy Editor: Joshua Mayfiled
Editor: Li Mengjie