Shenzhen, China | 82,050 m2
Museum of Contemporary Arts and Planning Exhibition
WA Designed Award

Project Information

The Museum of Contemporary Arts and Planning Exhibition is a symbolic cultural institution that confirms the importance of the Shenzhen region, as well as providing an intimate and meaningful public building for the Futian Centre District.

The project represents a pair of hands coming together and interlocking. This universally recognised gesture of unity also signifies respect and humbleness.
The elements of the building are used to symbolically represent the anthropomorphic form, providing an enclosed void that will become a place of tranquillity and calm.
The new museum is a city within the city, where the external envelope evolves from a dialogue with the neighbouring buildings through alignments and corresponding heights while enclosing a new internal square, a quiet, protected space with the characteristics of the traditional Chinese courtyard.

The building has two principal wings, the Contemporary Art Museum is on one side and the Planning Exhibition spaces on the other. Between the two, overlooking the central space, are the administrative offices and the multi-purpose lecture hall with associated public areas. Artist studios are at lower levels facing the street. Parking and storage are located in below ground levels. The main entrance is on the corner of Fuzhong Road, and the secondary entrance leading to the administrative offices and multi-purpose hall is to the north. The public square between the two provides a venue for outdoor sculptures, and a meeting place for communal activities, as well as a restaurant. This dialogue is further enhanced through the site landscaping, where the plan of the city is recreated at a small scale with water features and hard landscaping framing a pedestrian route and re-establishing the human scale on the site.

The dramatic form of the cantilevered museum galleries represents a charging bull, the energetic force and symbol of the city, driving forward. This sculptural form is constructed from concrete and full-height steel trusses, with glazed openings that control the daylight levels internally and give selected views out. Within these large volumes, ramps, staircases and escalators link the free-flowing form of the open plan interior, with spectacular double- or triple-height spaces.

The structural solution will be building-height steel trusses which will be used to create the cantilever frames, and will be exposed where the façade is expressed in glass. The large open plan rooms will be created through the use of floor-depth trusses, which support secondary composite structural frames. The basement will be constructed as a reinforced concrete box with discreet stability walls to resist the overturning forces generated by the superstructure frame. It is envisaged that the basement box will be founded on either piled or raft foundations, with the external walls constructed as either secant or diaphragm walls. The stability for the building will be derived from braced steel frames in both the vertical and horizontal planes. These will transfer wind and seismic forces to the ground where they will be re-distributed into the basement concrete box. Due to its location, the structure is designed in accordance with the Chinese Earthquake Resistant design code.
Servicing evolves through key sustainable design objectives like renewable energy systems, borehole and geothermal cooling, biomass, wind turbines, façade-integrated photovoltaic and solar thermal panels. Public areas are day-lit to optimise views and to provide good internal lighting levels; furthermore a water management system collects and reuses rainwater with the specification of water efficient fittings and landscape irrigation.

The resulting fragmented shapes that make up the new museum will not only result in a climate responsive proposal that minimises the impact on the site and local area whilst maximising its potential, but will also create a dynamic cultural landmark and a tranquil oasis for private contemplation.

Architects: Matteo Cainer Architects
Location: Shenzhen, China
Programme: Museum of Contemporary Arts and Planning Exhibition
Client: Shenzhen Municipal Cultural and Planning Bureaus
Project size: 82,050 m2
MCA Principal: Matteo Cainer
MCA Team: Yo Murata, Evonne Tam
Structure: Arup London
Award: WA Designed Award

Shenzhen, China | 82,050 m2
Museum of Contemporary Arts and Planning Exhibition
WA Designed Award