OPEN Architecture’s highly-anticipated Tank Shanghai has opened to the public following six years of design and construction. Located on the banks of the Huangpu River in the city’s West Bund, where five abandoned aviation fuel tanks once served the historic Longhua Airport, the scheme gives shape to a new type of contemporary arts center. OPEN’s design features a seamless combination of art, nature, and urban life, “transforming containers of fuel into containers of culture while paying tribute to the site’s industrial past.”
The scheme’s design centers on a Z-shaped “Super Surface,” forming a new center ground sitting below undulating parklands in between the tanks, and above flexible indoor exhibition and service spaces to connect the tanks to one another. Two open plazas and an urban forest merge with the Super-Surface, featuring greenery, water features, smaller galleries, and public artwork.
The repurposed tanks vary widely in use, with one used for live music performances, one as a restaurant, and three as distinctive art and cultural exhibition spaces. Each transformation, thoughtfully preserving and retaining original features where appropriate, overcame significant design and construction challenges due to the constraints of the existing structures inside the tanks.
The scheme opened with three inaugural art exhibitions: Universe of Water Particles in the Tank”, a digital installation by Japanese art collective teamLab, “Under Construction”, a group show of contemporary Chinese artists, and a solo exhibition of the work of Argentine sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas. Attracting almost ten thousand visitors in its first weekend, the Art Park “at once at once reincarnates industrial relics for a new era of Shanghai’s urban development, and also redefines the form and possibilities of a contemporary cultural center.”
Design Year: 2013-2019
Client: Shanghai West Bund Development Group
Operator: TANK Shanghai
Program: Art Galleries, Event spaces, Restaurant, Café, Live Music Club, Museum office and art storage
Building Area: 10,845 m²
Site Area: 47,448 m²
Location: West Bund, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Architects: OPEN Architecture
Principal-in-Charge: LI Hu, HUANG Wenjing
Project Team: YE Qing, LUO Ren, Victor QUIROS, ZHOU Tingting, CHEN Xiuyuan, LI Zhentao, ZHAO Yao, LU Di, JIA Han, ZHANG Yiwen, Steven SHI, ZHOU Xiaochen, HUANG Zhonghan, Laurence CHAN, Cynthia Yurou CUI, YANG Qi, GE Can, GAO Qi, Stephanie LEE, JIN Boan, ZHANG Hao, WANG Mangyuan, YAN Dihua, ZHANG Chang, Tomas KOWALSKY, JIANG Simin
Local Design Institute: Tongji Architectural Design Group
Landscape Design: Beijing EDSA Orient Planning & Landscape Architecture Co., Ltd.
Lighting Consultant: Shanghai Ming Chi Architecture and Engineering Co., Ltd.