Coldefy & Associates Architectes Urbanistes, in collaboration with ECADI, has been selected by the city of Shenzhen to build a cultural center of over 80,000 m2. The project is part of a series of ambitious international developments, embodying Shenzhen’s ambitions to become a major creation and design center.
The Architectural Vision
Conceived as “living canvas” to be shared and experienced by artists and visitors alike, the building is characterised by its generous spaces, where works escape from the traditional enclosure of exhibition rooms. This multifaceted structure is simultaneously an objet d’art and a setting for art, fostering a dialogue between avant-garde creations and a much-involved public.
Lying in the heart of Bao’an, on the east side of the cultural pedestrian zone, the project’s location guarantees it a prime place in the future cultural panorama and its interaction with residents, city and sea. The cultural center project consists of three independent entities: a museum, an art gallery and an exhibition hall. On the ground floor, the City Lobby serves the shops and metro, and links the three entities. Higher up on the Sky Lobby level, a “floating” public area, cultural programmes are found alongside plant-filled spaces. The layout is thus shaped from within, shifting the volumes.
A Constant Dialogue between Interior and Exterior
The spatial vision of the “living canvas” is also expressed through the desire to connect all the indoor areas with the exterior. Nestling between residential blocks and a shopping street, right next to the metro and the main traffic routes, a garden surrounds the structure and forms the main entrance for all members of the public. While an area completely separate from the artistic programme, it opens a continuous pathway to culture, no longer confined to exhibition rooms.
In the heart of the building, the “canvas” dreamed up splits open, giving way to a large glazed hall on a higher level, providing a new 360° view over the city. Here people can take part in public talks and enjoy a new form of transparency uniting inside, outside, the human aspect, the city and plant life. Terraces and bridges maintain this direct visual contact between the cultural center’s employees, the visitors, the art works and the surrounding neighbourhood.
Nature as Mentor
Shenzhen’s climate conditions have influenced the actual structure of the building. Volumes are optimised to reduce self-imposed shadow. The internal courtyard of the same height encourages the wind to circulate and creates a pleasant microclimate. The plant-covered roof is designed to collect rainwater and a photovoltaic electricity production facility. The outer part consists of facades featuring glass, marble and translucent marble, letting a soft light to pass through. It creates a buffer zone between the inside and outside of the building, reducing urban noise and limiting thermal exchanges. Source by Coldefy & Associés and ECADI.
- Location: Shenzhen, China
- Architects: Coldefy & Associates Architectes Urbanistes (CAAU), ECADI
- Status: winner of the 2016 competition
- Client: Government of Bao’an District
- Year: 2017
- Images: VIZE, Courtesy of Coldefy & Associés
Article by Marco Rinaldi