A museum influenced by stone and traditional Chinese gardens has been unveiled by America’s Ennead Architects. More specifically, the architect drew inspiration from the shape and texture of a type of limestone found in Lake Taihu, known as scholar’s stones.
The museum in question is the Wuxi Museum and Art Park in China’s southern Jiangsu province, which is located on the northeast edge of the lake.
The envelope has slices taken out to suggest the erosion of limestone. As scholar’s rocks are often used in garden design, Ennead worked with Dutch landscape architect West 8 to develop a setting based on a formal Chinese garden in which the museum and its courtyards intertwine.
Brian Masuda, the New York firm’s associate principal, said: “The eroded massing and open ground plane allow the outdoor exhibition gardens and plazas to flow through and around the building, clearly communicating the museum’s aspiration to be a welcoming and accessible civic space.”
And Thomas Wong, a partner in Ennead, said the idea of the garden inspired “not only a formal proposition but an experiential one, providing an evolving journey of art and nature through a carefully composed choreography that reveals something new with each step”.
The 30,000 sq m development will be located within the Shangxianhe Wetland Park, which will provide a lily-filled waterscape as background to the museum. Visitors will access the building by crossing a plaza and locating the museum, with its public art spaces and amphitheatre. The galleries themselves show artworks and calligraphy, and are located on the museum’s upper levels.