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Shanghai Nature Museum, Shanghai, China 
Tuesday 29 Jun 2010
 
Human nature 
 
Perkins+Will 
 
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New art museum sees nature reinforced by design 

Consistent with Chinese garden design, nature and architecture are integrated in this museum. As in traditional design, it approaches the spirit of nature, but does not imitate it. Through its relationship to the site, it represents the harmony of man and nature and is an abstraction of two basic elements of Chinese art and design - mountain and water.

The museum sits adjacent to an urban sculpture park. The shape and building organisation are inspired by the nautilus shell - a spiraling landscaped plane rises out of the park, wrapping an oval pond, the visual focus of the exhibition route, which begins at the upper level and spirals downward.

Exterior spaces integrate with the sculpture park and provide a unique experience for visitors. Three concepts reinforce this: The first is 'primordial forests'; untamed planted landforms edged with granite rocks are dispersed throughout the site. These are part of the learning experience of the museum and provide seating and social spaces. The second is the 'oval pool'; recognising that 71% of the earth’s surface is water, this becomes the focus of the scheme, providing movement, sound and reflections as part of the museum experience. The third is 'tectonic plates'; multidirectional stone paving patterns recall the tectonic plates of the earth, covering the plazas and ground floor.

The facades also express the Museum's message. The structural network and sunscreen lining the curved inner facade are an abstraction of patterns found in traditional pavilions and suggest human cell organisation. The north wall suggests the shifting of tectonic plates. The east wall is a living wall, bringing the horizontal plane of the park onto the vertical surface, forming an arcade and representing the vegetation of the earth’s surface. These features focus our awareness on the fundamental elements of the natural world; plants, earth and water.

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Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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Perkins+Will
www.perkinswill.com

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