The Art & Design Museum is situated at the heart of the Shapu Art District in Baoan, Shenzhen. With conventional shopping malls and retail outlets sprouting up in fast-growing contemporary cities, such as Shenzhen, the intention of the project is to develop a district not powered by market economics to shape its urban conditions but to experiment a new way of urban planning utlising cultural industry as main driver of the development of the city. The Art & Design Museum is one of a series of cultural establishments to attempt to weave in layers of identities to a new man-made district with no history. As a process of new urban identification the project aspires to be a model for alternative way of urban-economic planning.
Conceptually conceived as a pure embryotic box structure it is transformed via simple folding of the façade planes to break the rigidity and confines of its platonic state. The folding creates different articulation of the façade to respond to different street conditions giving a vibrant and free-spirited ambience to the building. The intervention is a method of creating innovative but pragmatic features, such as shading and canopy from the natural elements. At a more intellectual level it is also an expression of openness that signifies an unleashing of creative energy from any status quo – an aspiration that defines the establishment of the new urban planning methodology.
The museum itself is a floating volume creating an urban threshold plaza that connects the Art Town Main Street and other parts of the Art District. Together with an open sunken courtyard to the basement levels, the plaza transforms into a host of cultural activities and becomes a cultural focal point for the district. The simple yet bold external formal language of the building creates an iconic image without imposing too harshly with the environment.
Within the museum, two themed galleries, Chinese Art and Contemporary Design, interlocked three dimensionally around a central courtyard. A grand stair invites visitors from the plaza into the museum. Visitors travel through the galleries in a continuous upward spiral circulation, discovering unique spatial moments upon each turn. Daylight filters in between the folded facade, revealing glimpses of the Art District outside, and at the same time reinforcing the Art & Design Museum’s presence and relationship to the entire Shapu Art District.
Working in a region with disparate cultural and physical landscapes, where values from diverging times and places converge, Rocco Design Architects is founded in the belief that architecture is the embodiment of culture embracing and reinterpreting the past and the modernity, and the requirements of contemporary living. While always eager to explore and innovate, our works are marked by their sensitivity and sensibility with awareness that architecture, rather than just an art, is ultimately the art of problem-solving.
Rocco Design currently has about 140 staff with offices in Hong Kong and mainland China. Our works have been consistently awarded locally and internationally. Notably ones include First Prize for the L’Opéra de la Bastille International Competition in 1983, the Chicago Athenaeum Architectural Awards in 2006, 2011 and 2013, and the ULI Global Award of Excellence in 2014. We were the first Hong Kong architect to have solo exhibition at the Berlin Aedes Forum in 2015.