Info & photography: Steven Holl Architects
Steven Holl Architects' first project in China, the 30,000 sq. ft. Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, China opened doors on November 2nd with its inaugural exhibition, The Garden of Diversion…
Sited at the gateway to the Chinese International Practical Exhibition of Architecture (CIPEA), which brings together the work of 24 Chinese and international designers, the museum explores shifting viewpoints, layers of space, and expanses of mist and water, which characterize the deep alternating spatial mysteries of the composition of Chinese painting.
Formed by a "field" of parallel perspective spaces and garden walls in black bamboo-formed concrete over which hovers a light "figure”, straight passages on the ground level gradually turn into the winding passage of the gallery above, where suspended high in the air, the upper gallery unwraps in a clockwise turning sequence and culminates at "in-position" viewing of the city of Nanjing in the distance. This striking visual axis creates a link back to the great Ming Dynasty capital city.
Limiting the colours of the museum to black and white connects it to ancient paintings; it also gives a background to feature the colours and textures of the artwork and architecture exhibited within. Equipped with geothermal heating and cooling among other green features, the museum’s structural appeal lies in its simple form and intriguing flow.