As part of the cultural and urban renewal plan currently changing the face of the city of Shaoxing, Huifeng Hu and the Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University presents a new landmark dedicated to the culture that has now found its place amidst the historical homes of the ancient city of Shaoxing.
Xu Wei Art Museum and Qingteng Square is a very important part of the project in Shaoxing Ancient City, and also a key action in the urban renewal plan of “Seeing Qingteng Again.”
The Xu Wei Art Museum and Qingteng Square project has recently been awarded a 2023 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
Xu Wei Art Museum is located in the former Shaoxing Machine Tool Plant, north of Qingteng Bookstore, the former residence of Xu Wei, and in the middle of Houguan Lane.
First, the architects were inspired by the large spaces of the old Machine Tool Plant and adopted the construction logic of “longitudinal five-entry, and horizontal three-fold unequal herringbone slope modeling.”
The two five-entry floors on the east and west sides serve as the main exhibition space; the middle floor spans two floors, opening up the longitudinal five-entry pattern; and the ground floor is a foyer running through the north and south, while the shared hall and small temporary lecture hall are located on the second floor.
The shared space on the upper and lower floors also serves as a transfer hub between exhibition halls on both sides.
The architects set up an internal courtyard with different flat floors on the east and west sides, which reasonably separates the space volume of the exhibition hall and enhances the indoor permeability.
Meanwhile, the gardening design of rocks and waterfalls shrouded in greenery provides visitors with more possibilities for viewing and leisure other than participating in the exhibition.
In addition to spatial treatments, the contemporary expression of Shaoxing’s traditional style is also reflected in the fine selection of materials: black metal texture unfolds from the roof along the herringbone slope house to the end of the second floor on the east and west sides, and white granite solid walls are selected for above the second floor in the north-south direction.
The first floor is concave on four sides for repeated pavement of the unitized texture of transverse herringbone slope, while the curtain wall is treated locally according to function and unified modulus, and the gray granite and curtain wall materials are unified.
The building presents typical black, white, and gray tones that are representative of Shaoxing as a whole, with a positive three-fold herringbone slope contour line, which creates the contemporary landscape concept.
The architects retained the old walls at the east and north ends of the Machine Tool Plant, and juxtaposed the fully transparent glass curtain wall with a white stone plate in the Art Museum, forming a tension in the space.
Located on the south side of the venue, Qingteng Square connects the Art Museum on the north side with Qingteng Bookstore on the south side, paving the way for the frontcourt atmosphere, and meanwhile serving as the Visitor Center to carry the crowd distribution function.
The Square continues the construction logic of the Art Museum, and “lifts up” two herringbone slopes on the east and west sides respectively: the west side is slightly raised to enclose the Square, while the east side is slightly higher.
With the help of local sinking, the volume of the Visitor Center is skillfully hidden under the herringbone slopes.
The Square as a whole is paved with dark stone, and the west side creates a flowing water scene with the help of a slope.
At the same time, with the help of the space creation technique of “viewpoint transformation,” the “continuous bedding” is formed in the constantly moving and changing viewpoint shift, and a complete and unified space experience and impression foil is constructed for the visual and psychological integration of architecture and landscape – that is the so-called landscape spirit, which originated from Jiangnan.
When urban renewal and ancient city protection are increasingly becoming gossip topics after meals, the architects hope to present their thinking through design: how the contemporary public art space intervenes in the cultural context of an ancient city, integrates into and influences the lives of citizens, and then completes the initial reconstruction and prospect of the “future traditional community,” improving the quality of living space in the area and giving it new vitality.
Project: Xu Wei Art Museum and Green Vine Square
Architects: The Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University Co., Ltd. (UAD)
Lead Architect: Huifeng Hu
Design Team: Jiang Lanlan, Zhang Chenfan, Han Lifan, Zhu Jinyun, Li Pengfei, Jie Zhang, Xu Chen, Junfeng Lv, Ziwen Ding, Zeping Shen, and Xiaodong Chen
Landscape Design Team: Weiling Wu, Jietao Wang, Di Wu, Jing Zhu, Dandan Ao, Ying He, and Teng Lin
Interior Design Team: Ran Chu, Wanlin Liu, Junzheng Wang, and Wenbin Mei
General Contractor: The Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University Co., Ltd. (UAD) Construction
Contractor: Zhejiang Qinye Construction Engineering Group Co. Ltd.
Client: Shaoxing Commerce, Tourism and Culture Development Co., Ltd.
Photographers: Zhao Qiang and Lei Tantan