During the Northern Warlord Period (1912–1928), the construction industry in Shanghai underwent robust development. As an integral element of buildings, equipment served both functional purposes and stood witness to the evolution of the economy and society, thus earning its place as part of the architectural heritage. However, due to various reasons, there are many loopholes in the protection of these building equipment. This paper examines the development of building equipment in Shanghai during the Northern Warlord Period, using water supply, drainage, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as examples. Through historical context analysis, it summarizes this development from a social-spatial perspective, infers the reasons behind it, and analyzes the importance of preserving such equipment, considering both past and present viewpoints. In this research, the importance of protecting historical building equipment is emphasized, which aims to give people a deeper understanding of their cultural value, and suggests that scholars conduct more practical research on their protection.
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