Shenzhen museum cuts an imposing figure

11 pictures

The Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition was commissioned back in 2007, following an architectural competition(Credit: Coop Himmelb(l)au)

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You may recall Austria's Coop Himmelb(l)au from its literal take on a building for a bread company, but the firm's latest project is a lot more ambitious. Shenzhen, China's Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) is an outstanding example of breathtaking building design in a city undergoing its fair share of significant development lately.

MOCAPE is split into two main areas: one for the museum and another for the planning exhibition area. A large lobby, exhibition halls, auditorium rooms, and other facilities are shared between the two.

The seven-story building rises to a maximum height of 40 m (131 ft) and takes up a gross floor area of 80,000 sq m (861,112 sq ft). Its facade includes natural stone louvers covering large sections of glazing.

Judging from the photos available, the Deconstructivist museum's interior looks a little more pleasing to the eye than its exterior. The cavernous exhibition spaces have no supporting columns and are enlivened by the intricate roof of stone and glass, which should allow plenty of natural light inside, when conditions allow.

The layout centers around a shining amorphous "Cloud" which provides access to a café, book store, and a museum store, joining exhibition spaces with bridges and ramps.

Though a building of this kind can't really be considered green in any meaningful sense – imagine the environmental impact of all that stone being quarried for example – MOCAPE does include solar power and an efficient geothermal heat pump system in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint.

MOCAPE is part of the new Futian Cultural District masterplan for Shenzhen and joins other architecturally significant works in the city such as the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport and Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Plant.

The project was commissioned back in 2007, following an architectural competition. Construction then started in 2013 and was finished a few weeks ago. We've no word on how much it cost to build.

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