Going long

Monday 13 Oct 2014

Umbrella-like vaulted shapes characterise Atelier Deshaus' Long Museum West Bund design

The Shanghai-based Long Museum has opened a second building - the 33,000 sq m West Bund - situated on the banks of the Huangpu river in the Xuhui district. The building was designed by Shanghai architecture firm Atelier Deshaus at this site which was previously used as the wharf for transporting coal.

The firm's design works around the existing coal-hopper unloading bridge from the 1950s which is some 110m in length, 10m in width and 8m in height. It features umbrella-like vaulted shapes, which unite walls and ceiling planes, cantilevered overhangs and cast-in-place concrete surfaces.

According to the architects, the building's internal space can represent "a kind of primordial charm" while the spatial dimension and the cast-in-place concrete surfaces "bring a sense of reality" thanks to their seams and bolt holes.

An existing two-year-old underground two-storey car park was repurposed to produce a four-storey building with two floors above and below grade, housing 16,000 sq m of exhibition space for art from the ancient, modern and contemporary periods. The above-grade floors are dedicated to displaying contemporary works of art while the underground levels show a permanent collection of ancient Chinese artefacts.

The Long Museum itself says that its West Bund facility, which was completed in March 2014, "does not adopt the closed spatial pattern typical of ordinary museums, but functionally embraces openness and public involvement."

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