Neri&Hu Design and Research Office - Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts Extension, a monolithic urban monument
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Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts Extension, a monolithic urban monument

Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

Culture  /  Completed
Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

The architectural proposal takes the idea of a monolithic urban monument as the guiding concept to accommodate the museum’s newly expanded cultural and commercial functions, while also serving as an anchor and a durable symbol of social history for the surrounding urban fabric. The building is composed of four parts: the partially sunken Base, the Sculptural Walk circulation enclosure, the elevated podium Platform, and lastly the Monument. The entire base is finished with cast-in-place concrete. Partially sunken from the level of the existing plaza, the base is conceived as a continuous ground for the public. At the entry of the first floor, visitors are welcomed by partially retained original wide steps which descend down to a sunken piazza.

This project is part of a larger effort to revitalize the local urban fabric and to create a landmark destination at the entry of the Datang Everbright City. The new building benefits the existing museum’s expanding programs, while also serving the local population, by encouraging tourism and creating an architectural symbol for the community. From the outset, the idea for this building was to create an extended public realm for the community by creating a forum-like space for the public.From the ground level plaza, a series of escalators lead to the underground museum on the B2 level. Hovering just above the sunken base, is the Platform which is expressed as a post and lintel construction; a grid of stone columns and glass curtain walls supporting a floating roof house.

From an environmental sustainability standpoint, the building also adheres to energy-saving standards. The circular façade of the lounge is composed of red diamond-shaped travertine masonry unit walls with a double layer of hollow low-emission glass arranged at intervals. This wall assembly optimizes both light transmission and heat preservation to balance the maximum use of natural lighting while decreasing heating and cooling loads to achieve emissions reduction.

The client asked for a new architectural icon at the East Entry of the museum. The project deploys conventional materials and construction methods but composes and blends them together into one project to find unique architectural expressions tailored to each program. The Base is built with cast-in-place concrete and utilizes the monolithic expression of concrete to merge with the surrounding streetscape. The plasticity of concrete as a material accentuates the impression of sinking or submerging into a subterranean realm to create distinct journey for visitors going down to the underground galleries. The escalators are concealed within a sculptural form, featuring spaces of sectional play between compression and expansion, capped with a triple-story light well at the base of the sunken piazza, providing a sense of drama and intrigue. The post and lintel construction and glass curtain walls of the Platform create a simple, yet bold hovering datum that visually and tectonically separates the carved hardscape from the sculpted form of the Monument above. Within the Monument itself, which is composed of two levels, uses the language of masonry construction, but celebrates the duality of light and heavy, solid and porous, while playing with the inverted readings of solid and void. Utilizing the sectional interplay of the inverted bowl-shaped amphitheater, the underside of the theater insertion unexpectedly becomes the sculpted ceiling for the lounge level.

The client asked for a new architectural icon at the East Entry of the museum. In response to the brief, Neri&Hu’s proposal takes the idea of a monolithic urban monument as the guiding concept to not only satisfy the museum’s newly expanded cultural and commercial functions, but to also serve as an anchor and a durable symbol of social history for the surrounding urban fabric.

Credits

 Shanghai
 Cina
 Confidential
 12/2021
 1990 mq
 Confidential
 Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
 Partners-in-charge: Lyndon Neri, Rossana Hu; Associate-in-charge: Zhao Lei; Design team: Ivy Feng, Wenbo Da, Joy Han, Tian Hua, Bella Wu
 Power China Chonqing Engineering Co., Ltd.
 LDI: China Northwest Architectural Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd.; Lighting: Linea Light (China) CO., LTD.
 Zhu Runzi; STUDIO FANG

Curriculum

Founded in 2004 by partners Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, Neri&Hu Design and Research Office is an inter-disciplinary architectural design practice based in Shanghai. The practice’s burgeoning global portfolio includes commissions ranging from master planning and architecture, to interior design, installation, furniture, product, branding and graphic works. Currently working on projects in many countries, Neri&Hu is composed of multi-cultural staff who speak over 30 different languages. The diversity of the team reinforces a core vision for the practice: to respond to a global worldview incorporating overlapping design disciplines for a new paradigm in architecture.

Neri&Hu’s location is purposeful. With Shanghai considered a new global frontier, Neri&Hu is in the immediate center of this contemporary chaos. The city’s cultural, urban, and historic contexts function as a point of departure for design inquiries that span across a wide spectrum of scales.

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