Designed by United Design Group (UDG China), their proposal for the Contemporary Art Museum faces the main artery crossing the city of Jinan east to west. With the ambition to become the landmark of this urban sector, the first step of the process was to establish a relationship with the existing buildings; the main idea was to complete the sequence of boxes, maintaining the symmetry of the system. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Contemporary Art Museum will host not only exhibition areas but also education/training areas and offices. The site is located in the southern part of Jinan, the capitol of Shandong Province and is part of an urban expansion that includes in its west side, the Urban Planning Museum and north, the City Archive, both already finished (with very little success!). South of the site, the scene is dominated by the mountains skyline.
Both the Urban Planning Museum and the Archive developed themselves around an atrium, circular and squared one. The concept begins with this “atrium” idea and combines it with a hierarchical circulation inside the building which due to the complexity of the program identifies four main branches: 1) public, 2) groups, 3) VIP/employees/Students and 4) delivery.
We laid out the four main axes, smoothed them out, achieving the contrast between the strong image of the outer box and the fluent shapes of the atrium which in plan form our elliptical exhibition space. Doing so we have marked the main four entrances to the museum: a) public on the south side; b) groups in the west side; c) VIP, students and office employees north; d) service entrance, east.
The ellipses morphed into cocoons in their 3D final shape. They will have a strong solid material to underline their function of enclosed exhibition areas, a concrete curved surface facing the atrium, and a flat limestone perforated by different size openings on the façade. These structures are connected throughout a loop of bridges at different heights.
The Art Exhibition space occupies the first four floors of the building, at the fifth is located the education/training area that includes: art classroom, conference room, library, video and audio room etc. The last two floors are for the offices, partly loft spaces and partly enclosed rooms. An additional multifunctional space is located at – 5m; an outdoor space required by the program that we wanted to be covered and usable even during the rainy days, quite common in Jinan.
This system is held together by an external membrane, lifted from the ground, a double glazed skin. This outer layer has a semitransparent finish in order to reveal the interior complexity and at night to shine and become the new landmark of this part of the city.
In the project there are several citations of local traditions and resources. The way the four cocoons are carved out on their top part was an intended metaphor of the Chinese traditional pitched roof but at a second level of comprehension these edge resemble and mirror the skyline of the mountains in front of the main entrance of the building. A great heed has been given to the design of roof.
Not only in its profile along the façade, but also in the concave surfaces that have been sliced horizontally in order to provide natural illumination in the office’s loft space. These “steps” also become the seating of the outdoor stages on the roof. More natural light is provided offsetting the edges of the cocoons (where convenient), to form the skylights that lit the atrium. Last element from the tradition is the curved bridge along the main public entrance that serves the -5m and 0.00m floors, a modern interpretation of the traditional Chinese bridges.
Architects: United Design Group (UDG China)
Location: Jinan, China
Design Leader: Simone De Gradi
Design Team: Hu Wei, Li Xiao Jian, Feng Hai Hua, Cai Quan
Site Area: 20,700 m²
Total Constructed Area: 63,470 m²
Above Ground Construction Area: 43,030 m²
Exhibition Area: 12,350 m²
Office and Education Area: 30,680 m²
Underground Construction Area: 20,440 m²
Parking Area and Mechanical Rooms: 15,600 m²
Storage: 3840 m²
Multifunctional Space: 1000 m²
Green Rate: 35%
Parking Spaces: 29 above ground; 362 underground