Nanjing Sifang Art Museum | The Plan
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Nanjing Sifang Art Museum

Steven Holl Architects

In 1805, Sir John Barrow asked the emperor of China why the court painter refused to use perspective, the emperor responded that the imperfections of the eye are not a sufficient justification to represent object in nature as imperfect. Invited by Arata Isozaki to participate in this project of China International Practical Exhibition of Architecture on the Pearl Spring north of Nanjing, designing the first architecture museum in China, Steven Holl was drawn to consider the Chinese way of representing depth and volume.
He was inspired by the ancient method of parallel horizontal divisions, with different layers that create the illusion of depth and relative height by other means than western perspective. By resorting to this alternative way of representation he liberated himself not only from the convention attached to perspective as a method of representation, but from much...

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