In 2020, Archi-Tectonics joined an international competition for the design of the Museum of Natural History in Shenzhen, China, in collaboration with exhibition design firm Thinc Design. The design communicates natural history as a spatial experience: rather than explaining the geological formations of Shenzhen, visitors can climb an actual rock wall that forms the main façade of the building, explore an towering bamboo garden ecosystem, or go for a stroll on the 2.5 hectare topological roofscape.
Below this 42,000 m2 elevated landscape, a wide-span concrete shell supports the building’s continuous undulating roof. Its 25m modules with their fused column-arch structures are highly efficient and allow large, uninterrupted spaces with even ambient lighting. While this structural grid is simple and uniform, the undulating ceiling heights and subtractive voids create spatial variety and complexity. Inside, massive solids and voids subtract from, intersect, and suspend themselves between the roofscape, its structure, and the floor slabs. Exhibitions reside in a semi-submerged rock cavities, project through the roof surface, and climb the 20+ meter high walls.
A soaring rock formation forms the South, East and West perimeter walls of the building, as the roofscape touches the ground toward the river and park landscape to the North. Evocative, strange, and monumental, this wall contains all building services, such as public elevators, egress stairs, bathrooms, and infrastructure, allowing for access to all areas during museum hours and independently during nighttime operation. These exterior faces will be open for rock climbing, creating instant social media prominence for the museum. The distinctive material not only lends the building iconic character, it also allows for daylight control and thermal buffering, greatly improving the sustainable performance of the building.
I worked on the project as Lead Designer of the design team, which included project management, research & analysis, concept design, 3D modelling, spatial organization, creating of diagrams, renderings and animations, meeting with our exhibition consultant, and creating of the submission documents.
Copyright: Archi-Tectonics NYC, LLC