Hangzhou Boiler Plant / 杭洲锅炉厂

Here is another report about Hangzhou’s past industrial identity. Yes, as I spent some time there, I rapidly got tired of the touristic places and went looking for less obvious historical ruins. I first spotted this place in March 2016, on a bus trip to Capital Paradise. By the way, although I will not tell the exact location, you should know that it is not far from Hangzhou Oxygen Plant. Just like Hangzhou Oxygen Plant, this one is tighly watched and secured. The place is huge but I just went in one building. To get inside the compound, one has to think of a clever « ninja strategy » to go through the main door guarded by two fellows and run in a very open field to finally reach the building. That was not easy at all, but I never give up so one day, I found a way in. I apologize for the bad quality of the pictures, this was a « hide and seek » game with the guards and I did not get a chance to stay in for long or to frame my pictures in the best way…

One really needs to be stealth to get in there, Hangzhou Boiler Plant, March 2016

The factory was built in 1955. It started to get renovated in the years 2000 as an important « industrial heritage » for Hangzhou. Some of its architecture is still quite well preserved.

Communist slogan ending with « great red », Hangzhou Boiler Plant, April 2016

From inside, the building looks even more interesting than outside.

Second entrance door, Hangzhou Boiler Plant, April 2016
Inside view, Hangzhou Boiler Plant, April 2016

I could not go in the center of the warehouse because of another dangerous security dog barking so loudly that I had to leave fast.

Side view, Hangzhou Boiler Plant, April 2016
Side view, Hangzhou Boiler Plant, April 2016
Warehouse view with red ladders, Hangzhou Boiler Plant, April 2016

The space is huge with many windows that provide interesting light inside at any hour of the day. Professional photographers would definitely have fun in there. But I did not stay long enough to try too many options on the camera, I am sorry about that. However, you can get an idea of the spatial configuration of the building from inside, which, for me, is already a good start.

Time to get out of here, security watch coming, Hangzhou Boiler Plant, April 2016

As I said before, after an overdose of West Lake beauty, it is always nice to discover a more mysterious side of Hangzhou. And yet, even this side of the city is not a playground for ruin lovers anymore. It is being swallowed into the next touristic policies. The good side is that this building will not be demolished as it is part of an « Urban star industrial heritage protection zone » (城市之星工业遗存保护区). It was already gentrifying before as it was sometimes used as an exhibition hall for contemporary art, fashion shows and catwalks in the last years.

2015 cultural event, Internet sources

According to the most recent news reports (published in March 2016), this factory and its sister the lovely Oxygen Plant (my favorite in Hangzhou!) are now both included in a planning project of cultural and commercial hub, like most abandoned industries in Chinese big cities: 798 in Beijing, 1933 in Shanghai

3 thoughts on “Hangzhou Boiler Plant / 杭洲锅炉厂

  1. Hey another comment – sorry -, been to this place yesterday, nowadays it seems like it’s used on and off for art events, security didn’t let me in obviously, the oxygen plant too is being renewed, half of it turning into a gallery space in a couple of years while ther other still uncertain; I did find a hole to enter the boiler plant before walking the front gate but won’t return to Hangzhou shortly and that hole may as well be gone by then. I’ll remember to check it next time, but for now all we have left of the two factories is these pictures of your, alas.

    1. Yes Hangzhou has a very active policy of redevelopment of its « industrial heritage » sites so there are very fast ongoing transformations of these places. The steel plant should still be intact though, but you should visit it soon this year…
      Best! Jude

      1. Cool, had no time that weekend to check the steel plant area but I’ll probably be there again this fall (also to check on that boilet plant wall hole, ah). Meanwhile I scouted some derelict and mostly open factories in Songjiang lately that are high on the list of places to explore (perhaps someday I’ll make a page for this too and consistently record what is about to become flat grounds…). Will let you know in a few months how the steel plant looks like!

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