A Social Cause The city of Jishou, where the Jishou Art Museum is located, is the regional capital of Xiangxi (western Hunan), a minority autonomous zone. Initially, the municipal government considered parcels of lands in the development zone outside the city; however, we the architects proposed to build the art museum in the center of the old town because we believed that a cultural facility should be easily accessible. A river called Wanrong runs through the middle of Jishou, which makes the most central location for the art museum over the water course and the art museum then doubles as a pedestrian bridge naturally. We hope that people in Jishou would not only make a special trip to see art but will also encounter art on their way to work, to school, or to shop. Urban InterventionTypical contemporary cultural institutions in China, such as museums and theaters, are treated as freestanding monuments, from away from the communities. In Jishou, since we think an art museum should not be isolated from its users, it is inserted into the existing urban fabric, which is built up with row buildings along the Wanrong River that house shops, restaurants, bed-&-breakfests, often with owners living upstairs. Therefore, the front entrances of the Jishou Art Museum on both riverbanks are part of the mixed-use street walls and integrated into the everyday life.
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