MVRDV wins competition for Comic and Animation Museum in China


urban planning bureau has announced MVRDV winner of the international design competition for the Comic and Animation Museum (CCAM) in Hangzhou, . MVRDV won with a design referring to the speech balloon: a series of eight balloon shaped volumes create an internally complex museum experience of in total 30.000m2. Part of the project is also a series of parks on islands, a public plaza and a 13.000m2 expo centre. Construction start is envisioned for 2012, the total budget is 92 million Euro.

More images and architect’s description after the break.


Comics and animations have long been considered a form of entertainment for the younger generations but develop more and more into a sophisticated art form. The initiative for a museum especially for this relatively recent art form creates a platform which will unite the worlds of art and entertainment. By using one of the cartoon’s prime characteristics – the speech balloon – the building will instantly be recognized as place for cartoons, comics and animations. The neutral speech balloon becomes 3d.


The 30.000m2 are distributed over eight volumes which are interconnected allowing for a circular tour of the entire program. Services such as the lobby, education, three theatres/cinemas with in total 1111 seats and a comic book library occupy each their own balloon. If two balloons touch in the interior a large opening allows access and views in-between the volumes. The balloon shape allows for versatile exhibitions, the permanent collection is presented in a chronological spiral whereas the temporary exhibition hall offers total flexibility. Amsterdam based exhibition architects Kossman.deJong tested the spaces and designed exhibition configurations which appeal to different age groups and allow large crowds to visit the exhibition. One of the balloons is devoted to interactive experience in which visitors can actively experiment with all sorts of animation techniques like blue screen, stop motion, drawing, creating emotions etc. The core attraction of this space is a gi gantic 3D zoetrope. The routing of the museum permits short or long visits, visits to the cinema, the temporary exhibition or the roof terrace restaurant. The façade of the museum is covered in a cartoon relief referring to a Chinese vase. The monochrome white concrete façade allows the speech balloons to function: texts can be projected onto the façade. The relief was designed in collaboration with Amsterdam based graphic designers JongeMeesters.


Most of the 13.7 ha site is occupied by a new park on a series of islands in White Horse Lake. Reed beds are used to improve the water quality. Boat rides offer an added attraction. A separate expo building of 25.000m2 will house large fairs and the annual China International Comic and Animation Festival (CICAF). In-between expo and CCAM a public plaza will be the centre of this festival which is the county’s largest cartoon and animation event and has been held annually in Hangzhou since 2005.

Hangzhou is a metropolis with 6.4 million inhabitants 180 km southwest of Shanghai. The Museum will become a new focal point on the less populated southern side of Qiantang river. The CCAM will consolidate the city’s leading position as China’s capital of the animation industry. The new Museum will be the icon of a larger development, the Comic and Animation Centre. It comprises a series of hill-shaped buildings containing offices, a hotel and a conference centre of which the first phase is close to completion.


The museum will contain a multitude of interventions such as ground storage, natural ventilation and adiabatic cooling, all focused towards an excellent energy efficiency rating. The structural concept by Arup enhances the sustainable profile of the building: the aerodynamic design results in even wind pressure and lower need for air-conditioning. The box in box construction of the bubbles permits different conditions inside the building and improves the energy efficiency.

MVRDV won the competition of EMBT, Atelier Bow Wow, Tongji Institute of Architectural Design and Tsinghua Architectural Design. The MVRDV team consists further of Kossman.deJong exhibition architects, local architect Zhubo Architectural & Engineering Design, Arup engineers and JongeMeesters graphic design.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "MVRDV wins competition for Comic and Animation Museum in China" 06 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Looks like dinosaur eggs on the outside, but the interior is pretty interesting.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    what a awful priject! There is even no diagram except a functional diagram in this project.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is hilarious… It’s like a bunch professional architects designing a Disney land…

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I dont understand why did they done this. A FACILE DESIGN. 50 years ago, TEZUKA OSAMU sensei can do better like this one.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I wonder if I go in, will I ever find my way out again?
    But otherwise I think I might enjoy this building… there seems to be something going on at every scale level. It kinda makes me want to look around. Interesting view points, different kinds of interaction, always something new to see. Reminds me a bit of Complex Order ( The more you zoom in, the more you discover new things.

    Let’s go on this theme park ride!

    The concept of speech balloons seems made up afterwards though. As if they needed something to justify their design.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Pretty inventive. Its synesthesia!

    I am impressed that the architects formalized
    sonci comedy as upwelling bubbly buildings.

    Putting the language of sound into the language of form shows a creative quality very few designers have.

    This would not have been possible with pencil drawing–here it is architecture purely as CGI specacle. This say a lot about the profession–and the client.


  7. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I’m pretty sure there’s a mistake. This can’t be MVRDV. Have they sold their soul to the devil? WTF is this? This is not the type of work you expect from a top firm like MVRDV. Rubish, this is rubish!

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s almost as though aliens have abducted this world…I mean seriously!
    I wonder if it would look as amazing (To those who were deceived I mean) a couple of years from now, I’m sure people will grow sick of its presence.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    i think mvrdv might be over-estimating the procentage of young people who get high in china. there are far stricter rules there than in, let’s say, The Netherlands.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      If you haven’t got anything better to say then don’t! This isn’t school, so you might aswell try to bring your comments to the next level.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I keep wondering how this aesthetic of over-the-top form generation is going to be viewed in even 10 years from now, much less 50. While I’m sure MVRDV has put a lot of thought into generating something like this, theres a growing disconnect between the renderings and the reality. How much can one expect designs like this to change between DD and formulating CD’s these days.

    Don’t get me wrong, the thinking behind these buildings definitely raises some questions/promotes discussion about the built world. But some time ago, this design would have been written off as “paper architecture.” Now, computers allow us the freedom to actually build these given a huge, inflated budget.

    “People were so pre-ocuppied with whether or not they could, they never stop to think whether or not they should”

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Given the subject matter contained within the museum, would anything but over the top work? I couldn’t imagine this in a simple restrained box.

      Bopp: I agree with you. They are in the same vein as OMA, in that the projects look like extremely straightforward responses, but become so much more nuanced when you dive into them. I would say that quality is what another Baby OMA (BIG) is lacking in their work at present. My only issue with the form making on this one is that it may be too literal.

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        BIG indeed is very iconic, and with a lot of their projects I miss their relevance in society, in stead of being just an iconic building. I do liked their fresh approach though, it’s now starting to bore me.

        I don’t think it’s a bad thing, in this case, the form is too literal. As long as the design shows the complexity of comic and animation as well, and isn’t mocking the subject.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s funny to see that with every MVRDV post here you have similar comments, most of them negative. But every time I am intrigued by the projects. They seem too simple, almost figured out in 10 minutes with a cup of coffee and a good joke, but if I take a longer look at it I see a thoughtfull approach to the project with interesting and fresh views to architecture.
    Based on the comments, they manage to activate people to form opinions, start discussion and meanwhile build projects. I think this is a quality not to underestimate.

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