Days after winning a competition to design a cultural complex in Eastern China, Steven Holl Architects celebrated the completion of its first project in the country. The 30,000-sq.-ft. Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing opened November 2 with a design that explores the composition of Chinese painting through layers of space and spans of mist and water.
Steven Holl employed a series of parallel spaces and garden walls made from bamboo-formed concrete stained black. The main floor leads to the winding passage of the upper gallery, which unwinds clockwise and ends with a view of the city beyond. A simple palette of black and white acts as a neutral backdrop against which to display textures and colorful artwork.
The architecture firm will take on an even bigger project in China with its winning design for the Culture and Art Center of Qingdao City competition. The 2 million-sq.-ft. complex comprises four museums and forms the core of a new extension of the city that will accommodate 700,000 residents. A raised “light loop” contains galleries that are lit from above and the side, while “art islands” help form outdoor spaces and house two of the museums.