In Progress: Nanjing Museum of Art & Architecture / Steven Holl

Flickr © vbratone. Used under Creative Commons

Special thanks to our reader, Vivian Bratone, for sharing some insight to Steven Holl’s newest museum project with us. Situated in Pearl Spring near Nanjing, China, the museum is only a part of the Chinese International Practical Exhibition of Architecture (CIPEA) complex. The CIPEA project is a complete collaboration of architects from across the world, from Italy to Japan, and Mexico to Croatia. Upon completion, the complex will include more than a dozen buildings that will house exhibits for arts and culture.

In addition to Holl’s museum, the plan includes a landscape Circle of Interaction by SANAA, the Pond Lilly by Chilean architect Mathias Klotz, a Glass Box by Heng Liu of Hong Kong, and plenty more projects that all differ stylistically, yet are united in their shared celebration of nature and the arts.

Flickr © vbratone. Used under Creative Commons

Holl’s building is regarded as “the gateway” to the complex and the project takes inspiration from traditional Chinese paintings, specifically their shifting viewpoints, layers of space and expanses of mist and water. ”The straight passages on the ground level gradually turn into the winding passage of the figure above.” Yet, the upper gallery volume, which is lifted off the ground and is intended to be seen as unraveling, seems too clunky and heavy to read as Holl intended. Nevertheless, the focus is to connect this unraveled passage with the city of Nanjing, so Holl creates a visual axis to link the building’s passageways with the great Ming Dynasty capital city.

Flickr © vbratone. Used under Creative Commons

Bratone had the chance to explore this crazy “architectural playground” – balancing on exposed I-beams and climbing on roofs – to document the construction progress.  After visiting the construction site, Bratone’s images show that the complex is still very much under construction but its seems off to a steady and strong start.  And we’ll be sure to share more updates with you as the construction continues.

Flickr © vbratone. Used under Creative Commons

Thanks again, Vivian! See our coverage of Holl’s buildings here.


architect – Steven Holl Architects Steven Holl, Li Hu (design architect) Hideki Hirahara (associate-in-charge) Clark Manning, Daijiro Nakayama (project architect) Joseph Kan, JongSeo Lee, Richard Liu, Sarah Nichols (project team)

associate architects – Architectural Design Institute, Nanjing University

structural consultant – Guy Nordenson and Associates

lighting design – L’Observatoire International

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Cite: Karen Cilento. "In Progress: Nanjing Museum of Art & Architecture / Steven Holl" 23 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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