Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Internationally renowned architectural firm Ennead Architects won a competition to design the Wuxi Museum of Art in the historic port city of Wuxi, China.

Designed as a new center of art and culture in eastern China, the Wuxi Museum and Art Park is inspired by the tradition of Chinese gardens whose heritage has long been part of the region.

Located in the Shangxianhe Wetland Park, the site design and architectural form of the museum closely connect and integrate the museum experience with the natural environment.

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

East observation deck (daytime). Picture © Brick Visualcourtesy of Ennead Architects

Ennead Architects envisions the architecture of the Wuxi Art Museum as “a metaphorical scholarly stone of Taihu” to be a contemplative and intricate spatial structure that “invites one’s mind, but also sits quietly as a meditative object amid the context wider natural”.

“Our vision for the Wuxi Art Museum is to place it within a larger overall composition, highlighting the views inside and outside the museum through subtractive carvings and recesses while mimicking the ‘natural erosion of spiritual stones,’ said designer Thomas J. Wong, partner at Ennead Architects.

“The garden metaphor inspires not just a formal proposition but an experiential proposition, offering an evolving journey of art and nature through carefully composed choreography that reveals something new with every step,” Wong added.

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Main entrance. Image © Brick Visual, courtesy of Ennead Architects

Renowned landscape architecture agency West 8 is responsible for the landscape design which aims to create an integrated relationship between the surrounding landscape and the architecture, using a rich composition of solids and voids.

Ennead Architects creates sculpted voids from the massing of the museum to form distinct outer realms. Through these sculpted openings, they create an intimate relationship, interweaving framed views of outdoor art exhibits into composed natural scenes. An organized path created by West 8 winds through a series of gardens, courtyards and plazas with open lawns and play areas.

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Aerial view from the northwest. Image © Brick Visual, courtesy of Ennead Architects

The team designs a flexible green space for an outdoor amphitheater that allows visitors to enjoy art screenings, film screenings and performances.

This sequence is created to showcase iconic sculptures and art installations that will provide an immersive experience of discovery.

“Entangled and intertwined with the porous museum experience of courtyards, galleries, thresholds, and open-air ceilings and terraces, architecture and landscape share a language that extends the museum experience from the inside out. outdoors,” said Daniel Vasini, Creative Director at West 8.

“Inspired by the ecology of Wuxi’s wetlands and the regional tradition of water and canal management, we asked ourselves how to bring the human experience to this rich heritage and reintegrate the museum into the context? As landscape and architecture expand and contract in symbiosis, the sequence of experiences invites the visitor to explore and be immersed in a layered system of sculpture gardens,” Vasini added.

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Public crossing. Image © Brick Visual, courtesy of Ennead Architects

Upon entering the main entrance, visitors are greeted by a welcoming civic plaza that doubles as an exhibition opportunity for public art.

A central courtyard, serving as a focal point for the museum, is filled with a waterscape filled with water lilies for reflection and tranquility. It is also visible from adjacent programs or walkways criss-crossing the upper galleries.

Like the outdoor art park, the interior the design of Wuxi Museum is also designed to provide a varied sequence of endless possibilities.

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

View from Shangxian East Road. Image © Brick Visual, courtesy of Ennead Architects

Visitors are invited to find their own unique path through the museum – from the strategic integration of art to ever-changing views of the landscape; carefully lit and flexible gallery spaces at the anchor of the central courtyard space; and amenity spaces, which extend indoor activity outdoors, to upper-level terraces that offer sweeping views of the art park.

Various types of lighting are expected to contribute to the indoor experience. A unique perforation and facade texture introduce light and highlight the shaping of the limestone facade.

While the perforations in the stone facade provide filtered light into the museum, and when combined with the slightly translucent moments of the glass curtain wall, both types of openings create a presence that transforms from day to day. the night. Plus, the soft glow from inside the museum provides a subtle glimpse into the activity that takes place there.

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Arch and landscape overlay. Image © West 8

A textured expression is created by the hinged facade during the day, while adding an intriguing interchange of smooth surfaces and rough, porous areas.

“The perforated stone further connects the architecture to the concept of intricate spiritual stones, where the holes and crevices provide a level of interest and delight to the viewer,” said Ennead Architects.

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Front view thumbnail. Image © Ennead Architects

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Sitemap. Image © West 8

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Site Components. Image © West 8

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Section. Image © Ennead Architects

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Aerial view of the model. Image © Ennead Architects

Ennead Architects win competition to design new Wuxi Art Museum in East China

Model. Image © Ennead Architects

Ennead Architects was established in Shanghai in 2014 and has been active in Asia for many years, where the firm’s deep experience and commitment to public space has produced transformative buildings with incredible public impact.

The company is also designing a new Shanghai Lingang Special Zone Master Plan, which will be a new hub for global trade. The company is currently working on the new International Performance Center in Shenzhen, China.

Top image: East observation deck (dusk). Image © Brick Visual, courtesy of Ennead Architects.

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