China’s mirror to the mountains

Nick Myall
10 Aug 2015

A new Chinese museum takes inspiration from nearby mountains

The Fangshan Tangshan National Geopark is located 40 kilometres east of Nanjing in China. It is the site of one of the world's most fascinating archaeological discoveries, and is soon to be home to China's new Great Relic Museum.

HASSELL was the project landscape architect and designed the museum's gateway plaza and surrounding parkland connections for the Nanjing Tangshan Construction Investment and Development Company, following an international landscape design competition.

HASSELL’s sensitive landscaping speaks to the existing topography of the site to generate a smooth pattern of movement between public and private facilities, and the surrounding transport infrastructure. 

Commenting on the project the architects, Studio Odile Decq said: “The shape of the museum originates from the slope of the site, which becomes the form of the building. The continuity between the landscape and the museum creates a sequential museology space that runs through the many layers of the project. The museum is dedicated to both geology and anthropology and provides diverse means to discover these exhibits, depending on the time and interest of the visitor.”

The major attractions within the wider park include the Hulu Caves, where homo erectus fossils dating back 0.16-0.60 million years were discovered in 1993, and an ancient quarry exhibiting geological formations of the Paleozoic era.

The geopark's generous new public realm will unify the museum with the various attractions spread across its 15-hectares of open space to create an enlightening new tourist destination.

The overall look of the plaza echoes the site's contour lines, which shift like geological activity. It optimises the existing topography to establish clear and seamless patterns of movement between all functions, integrating with the surrounding transport infrastructure and regional parkland.

The arrival plaza and memory tower provide a gathering point, marking the start of each journey. From this space, visitors can take their own expedition to the museum, weaving through the feature gardens and along the climbing pathways that are embedded with carvings depicting the evolution of prehistoric life.

The feature gardens are inspired by the environmental characteristics of each period of the Paleozoic era. From the rocky, microbial soil crust of the Cambrian landscape, through to the Silurian wetlands and Carboniferous swamp forest, the selection and detailing of counterpart plants and elements gives the 'prehistoric' gardens an essence of that time and place.

The museum plaza, the first phase of the major landscape works, is now complete. Construction of the wider parkland will be completed in 2016.

For more project details visit: http://www.hassellstudio.com/en/cms-projects/detail/fangshan-tangshan-national-geopark-museum-/


Credit for source material: HASSELL

Nick Myall
News Editor

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