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Nanjing Sifang Art Museum
Steven Holl Architects

June 06, 2011 /

Nanjing, China

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Photo © Iwan Baan

The new museum is sited at the gateway to the Contemporary International Practical Exhibition of Architecture in the lush green landscape of the Pearl Spring near Nanjing, China.

The museum explores the shifting viewpoints, layers of space, and expanses of mist and water, which characterize the deep alternating spatial mysteries of early Chinese painting. The museum is formed by a "field" of parallel perspective spaces and garden walls over which a light "figure" hovers. The straight passages on the ground level gradually turn into the winding passage of the figure above.

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

The upper gallery, suspended high in the air, unwraps in a clockwise turning sequence and culminates at "in-position" viewing of the city of Nanjing in the distance. The meaning of this rural site becomes urban through this visual axis to the great Ming Dynasty capital city, Nanjing.

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

The courtyard is paved in recycled Old Hutong bricks from the destroyed courtyards in the center of Nanjing. Bamboo, previously growing on the site, has been used in bamboo-formed concrete, with a black penetrating stain.
Museum has geothermal cooling and heating, and recycled storm water.

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Photo © Iwan Baan

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Photo © Iwan Baan

Limiting the colors of the museum to black and white connects it to the ancient paintings, but also gives a background to feature the colors and textures of the artwork and architecture to be exhibited within.

Perspective is the fundamental historic difference between Western and Chinese painting. After the 13th Century, Western painting developed vanishing points in fixed perspective. Chinese painters, although aware of perspective, rejected the single-vanishing point method, instead producing landscapes with "parallel perspectives" in which the viewer travels within the painting.

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Sketch courtesy Steven Holl Architects

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Model photo courtesy Steven Holl Architects


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Drawing courtesy Steven Holl ArchitectsSite Plan
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Drawing courtesy Steven Holl ArchitectsGround Level Plan
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Drawing courtesy Steven Holl ArchitectsFloating Gallery Plan
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Drawing courtesy Steven Holl ArchitectsSection

Facts about Nanjing Sifang Art Museum

Building area:

30,000 ft2 (2,787 m2)

Design architects:
Steven Holl, Li Hu

Associate-in-charge:

Hideki Hirahara

Project architects:

Clark Manning, Daijiro Nakayama

Project team:

Joseph Kan
JongSeo Lee
Pei Shyun Lee
Tz-Li Lin
Richard Liu
Sarah Nichols

Associate architects:

Architectural Design Institute, Nanjing University

Structural consultant:

Guy Nordenson and Associates

Lighting design:

L'Observatoire International

Client:

Nanjing Foshou Lake Architecture and Art Developments Ltd

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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