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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lot 179, Shanghai, China

Competition entry seeks to restore balance between the built and natural environments

Top international architecture and design firm Perkins Eastman participated in a design competition to transform an empty lot in one of the most visible and historically significant sections of Shanghai into a world class, mixed-use facility comprising gallery and exhibition space for the city’s premiere modern art institution, the Museum of Modern Art (MoCA).

Despite the strong presence of traditional vernacular architecture in the area, the design team chose to create a modern form complementary to its surroundings. The six-storey, 50,000 sq m (538,400 sq ft) building utilizes basic stacking and strong linear axes combined with stone and glass to complement the neighborhood’s scale and context. The simplicity of the structure belies the complex inner workings of a facility designed to integrate high-end retail and office space, a boutique hotel and spa, a restaurant, as well as the exhibition space in a singular form.

By building up, rather than out, designers were able to incorporate water gardens, green walls, and verdant public plazas throughout the site restoring a balance between the natural and built environments in such a heavily frequented area of the city. Designed as a free-standing structure, the site lines surrounding the building are landscaped to create unobstructed green pathways from one end to the other—a tranquil setting in an otherwise busy hub of Shanghai.
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