Project: Chengdu Museum of Natural History
Award: Future Projects - Civic, Silver, 2022
Location: Chengdu, China
Architect: Pelli Clarke & Partners
Client: Chengdu City Construction Investment & Management Group Co. Ltd, Chengdu University of Technology
Chengdu’s Museum of Natural History couldn’t be further from the image of a fusty old museum. The state of the art 50,000 m2 space will transform the city's skyline with a dramatic granite exterior intended to reflect the surrounding landscape. The Sichuan mountains were formed by the ancient movement of tectonic plates in the region and the building’s design is intended to reflect the rock breaking apart and shifting with horizontal and vertical forces. The building's form sweeps up in places to reveal the interior before descending again.
The surface is punctuated with organic perforations intended to create the impression of daylight reflecting on mountain snow. At night, light from within will evoke a starry sky.
The museum will feature exhibits, shops, a café, a cinema and educational facilities. A glass room — known as the “dino box” thanks to the dinosaur skeletons on display — features floor to ceiling windows offering expansive views as visitors travel between the second and third floors.
An expansive canopy will mark the main entrance, welcoming visitors into the museum. Inside the central atrium, sculpted wooden bridges will recall the historic connection between Chengdu and its ancient water passages. Outside the museum, an immersive nature area featuring indigenous plants, pools and tributaries will frame the museum, highlighting the region's historic irrigation systems.
Photo credit: Xiaobin Lv
- LEAD ARCHITECT: Kristin Hawkins
ARCHITECT OF RECORD: China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute
LANDSCAPE: Land Artitude Design
- LIGHTING DESIGN: Zhongtai Lighting Group Co., Ltd.
CONTRACTOR: China Railway Construction Engineering Group Co., Ltd.