At the ninth edition of Belgrade Design Week 2014, internationally festival for creative industries and modern business in Serbia, swiss-based architect Christian Kerez has presented plans for a new cultural district to be developed in Guangzhou, China.
Situated at the South end of the Guangzhou New Urban Axis, the project is going to become an important tourist and sightseeing zone together with Canton Tower, the recent city landmark in Guangzhou. The site area is bounded by Yue Jian West Road to the North, Xin Gang Middle Road to the South, Yi Jing Road to the West, and Yi Yuan East Road and Chi Gang North Road to the East.
The planning covers a total land area of 55.5 ha. The plot is composed of Lingnan Square (Park), Guangzhou Museum, Guangzhou Art Museum and Guangzhou Science Museum, which will be developed into a core cultural district in Guangzhou. After completion of the project, cultural soft power and international competitiveness of Guangzhou city will be dramatically enhanced.
Lignan Square is a landscape park separated from the surrounding city by a massive wall of trees. The open field of this green oasis links the whole area with Canton Tower, one of the most iconic buildings of Guangzhou. A meandering walkway and a river connect the landmark buildings on both sides of this open field.
The new continuation of Guangzhou main axis is closely related to lignan culture where architecture and landscape become inseparable. This close relationship between architecture and nature is carried to the new scale of Guangzhou. The buildings with their organic and sculptural appearance resemble mountains in an open rice field as it is shown in so many Chinese paintings.
The form of Guangzhou Art Museum is inspired by Taihu stones, which has been scholars’ favorite since Tang and Song Dynasties. Taihu stone is a combination of ‘time, art and space’. Like in those rare stones, inside and outside, object and void, architecture and space become a inseparable complex unit. This space resembles caverns inside a mountain which are told in so many legends true secret place of art treasure.
Looking at a river with trees, grass fields and rocks, you might think to be in an open landscape. While you find yourself in the heart of the art museum of Guangzhou, setting a new landmark worldwide. This public space will bring together nature, architecture, landscape and people to expand Lignan culture to the new scale of Guangzhou.
Location: Guangzhou, China
Architect: Christian Kerez
Consortium members: Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tongji University (Group) Co., Vogt Landscape Design Co., Ltd.
Contestants: Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd, Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten Ltd
Structure Consultants: Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tongji University (Group) Co., Ltd. / structural consultant, Dr. Schwartz
Structural engineer: Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd / Dr. Schwartz Consulting AG Zürich
Client: Guangzhou Urban Planning Burea
Article by Marco Rinaldi