PES-Architects wins Shanghai Submarine Museum competition

Shanghai Submarine Museum

The Shanghai Submarine Museum will occupy a prominent position on the Huangpu riverfront in central Shanghai at No. 3 Dockyard, the former site of the Jiangnan Shipyard and more recently part of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo site.

The area is currently undergoing a major urban transformation, with 30 km of the west Huangpu riverfront with its old industrial docks and sites being converted into cultural facilities, public parks and recreational sites linked by a green pedestrian passage. The new museum, administratively part of the China Maritime Museum in Shanghai, will form an integral part of this chain of cultural venues.

PES-Architects’ winning design seeks to preserve the industrial dock and showcase the museum submarine with a subtle yet distinctive landmark building that honours the heritage of the site.
The museum will be built in two phases: the first phase (500 m2), to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, will provide access to the submarine, while the second phase, scheduled for completion in 2023, will expand the building by 3,000 m2.

Context-based design
The site for the future museum and the relocated submarine is one of three adjacent maritime docks. The design takes advantage of the historic industrial spaces and repurposes them for new uses while preserving the atmosphere of the location. The museum is placed as a bridge on top of the submarine and across the dock pool, allowing for continuous flow across the site while leaving most of the dock intact.

Initially a low, simple structure, the building grows upwards in the second phase as the museum programmes expand. A monumental staircase links the dock floor to the riverfront green zone. A rooftop viewing deck finalises the sculptural yet highly functional museum design. Beneath this, the restaurant occupies prime position with direct access from the park and pedestrian passages and a panoramic view towards the Huangpu River.

The building forms a symbiosis with the submarine and hovers over the maritime dock as a mysterious, intriguing object offering fantastic views in all directions. The design focus is equally on all three key elements of the site: the dock itself, as a memory of the industrial nature of the site; the museum submarine; and the majestic Huangpu River.

Concealing envelope
The reflective mirror facade simultaneously amplifies its context and disappears, attracting attention while respecting its environment. Glass, steel and wood form an elegant contrast to the rough textures of the museum dock. The same materials and feel are continued in the interior, with spaces arranged clearly to reflect and optimally serve their respective uses.

Multi-functionality and expansion potential
The layout of the museum and restaurant are designed for highly flexible and adaptive use of the spaces individually or in combination. The multifunctional exhibition space beneath the museum allows parts of the dock to be sectioned off for exhibitions or events, such as film screenings, festivities, fashion shows etc.

The building has a modular structure made largely of prefabricated elements for fast construction. This will also allow the building to be disassembled and reassembled elsewhere at the end of its lifecycle in the current location. Landscape artwork that symbolises the progression from ocean to land

The dock floor has an undulating topography and the pool can be partially filled with water, changing the nature and function of the space. As the water level rises, shallow pools emerge for children to play in, and a narrow path is created towards the underside of the museum. At its highest level, the water allows separation of the exhibition areas below the museum from the public park. Source by PES-Architects.

  • Location: No. 18 Longhua East Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai. China
  • Architect: PES-Architects
  • Design team: Tuomas Silvennoinen (chief architect), Jyri Eskola, Ziyang Xu, Yueyang Li, Linli Lai, Jian Dou, Jianqiang Lin, Jie Tang, Xiaojing Guan
  • Client: Shanghai Bund Investment Group Co. Ltd (BIG)
  • Project Size: Phase I 500 m2; Phase II 3,000 m2;Curated area of site 6,600 m2
  • Year: 2021
  • Images: Hansinok, Courtesy of PES-Architects

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