Yang Sisheng (simplified Chinese: 杨斯盛; traditional Chinese: 楊斯盛; Wade–Giles: Yang Ssu-sheng, 1851–1908[1]) was a Chinese bricklayer-turned-architect best known for being the leader of the first modern Chinese construction company in Shanghai. He also used his personal wealth to build many schools in the city.

Early life edit

Yang was born in Chuansha in the outskirts of Shanghai to a family of carpenters.[2] Orphaned in his early years, he became a stonemason in Shanghai at age 13.[1]

Construction works edit

Yang worked for Palmer & Turner Group as a full-time craftsman,[3] and was familiar with western-style blueprints and contracts.[2] In 1880, Yang registered the first native construction company, Yang Rui Tai Co. (楊瑞泰營造廠), in the Shanghai French Concession.[3]

A year later, during the construction of the Customs House II, the Italian builder quit the piling task due to soft soil and rising underground water. As the subcontractor, Yang studied and experimented with the soil, and finally succeeded with the piling work. Later, he took over the entire building project.[3] When the building was constructed in 1893, his reputation was established in both the Chinese and foreign sections in Shanghai.[2]

In 1904, he established the Jui Ho Brick and Tile Company, Ltd., China's first modern brick and tile company.[4]

Commitment to education edit

His reputation made him an acquaintance of the educational reformer and fellow Chuansha native Huang Yanpei.[2] With Huang's help, he established several schools in Shanghai. In 1904, he set up a primary school in an ancestral hall, and converted a villa into Guangming Primary School (廣明小學).[1] In 1905, he established the Guangming Normal Lecturing Institute (廣明師範講習所). In 1906, he built Pudong Secondary School after buying over 40 acres in Liuliqiao.[1] Additional schools in Pudong include two primary schools in Cailu and Heqing and a night school.[1] He also donated 120,000 silver to Pudong Secondary School. Before his death, he donated hundreds of acres in Hengsha to fund the Keqin Institute in Tiqiao.[1] His deeds were widely publicized in China, particularly after his death in 1908.[2]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Wu Qian (2021). "Yang Sisheng". In Suzuki, Shin'ichi; McCulluoch, Gary; Gu Mingyuan; Rao, Parimala; Hong Ji-Yeon (eds.). The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modern Asian Educators, 1850–2000. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-315-67842-9. Retrieved 26 March 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e Roskam, Cole (2019). Improvised City: Architecture and Governance in Shanghai, 1843–1937. University of Washington Press. pp. 119–20. ISBN 9780295744803. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  3. ^ a b c Ye, Jingxian; Fivet, Corentin (2018). "Construction Technology in Shanghai in the Nineteenth to Twentieth Centuries". In Wouters, Ine; van de Voorde, Stephanie; Bertels, Inge; Espion, Bernard; de Jonge, Krista; Zastavni, Denis (eds.). Building Knowledge, Constructing Histories, Volumes 1 & 2. CRC Press. pp. 283–84. ISBN 978-0-429-01362-1.
  4. ^ "Brick and Tile Industry". Chinese Economic Journal and Bulletin. 18 (1). Bureau of Foreign Trade: 63. 1936.