Cheng Shifa Art Museum

Shanghai/ China

Size/ 11,000 m²
2017, proposal
Shanghai School of Painting
Forbes Massie Studio/ Beauty and The Bit/ Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

The work of Cheng Shifa (1921-2007) not only combines western drawing techniques with Chinese traditional brushwork but also portrays scenes of daily life and nature during a period of transition in Modern China. His works represent the bridge between tradition and modernity. Our proposal for the Cheng Shifa Art Museum reflects this idea by combining the walled courtyard, a typology often found in his native region of Shanghai, with contemporary exhibition facilities to create a new type of museum experience. This allows visitors to have moments of contemplation and tranquillity in thematically diverse courtyards relating to various subjects in the work of Cheng Shifa.

Located in a dense urban district of Gubei, a sub-center of metropolitan Shanghai, the site is surrounded by towers, which overlook the site.

To view the delicate details and brilliant colours of the art collection, we have designed a variety of light conditions for the display of different art works. On the first floor, soft and diffuse natural daylight filters through the channel glass facade and through the glass that looks into enclosed courtyards.

Our design proposal seeks to create a protected sanctuary from this urban cacophony for the quiet contemplation necessary to appreciate works of art. In addition, the design maximizes its presence on the site by maintaining a monolithic expression that fits contextually with adjacent large-scale developments.

The rectangular gallery spaces are two-story “white box” volumes, which provide maximum curatorial flexibility and visitor accessibility. They can accommodate multiple curatorial layouts by the addition of walls and display elements. Additionally, the 6-meter clear height provides generous wall space for the display of Cheng Shifa’s work and his collection.

Cheng Shifa’s hometown in Songjiang provided the backdrop and inspiration for many of his art works. In the same way, the design proposal takes inspiration from the courtyard houses that is native to the Jiangnan region, creating a new type of museum experience.

The landscape design of the courtyards recreates scenes and subject matter from the work of Cheng Shifa becoming a live painting. This creates an environment that allows quiet reflection on his work.

The facade is clad in green ceramic tiles creating a direct connection to the New Hongqiao Central Park to the north of the site and a hint to the use of colour in the work of Cheng Shifa. The ceramic facade is composed of triangular units in a few tones of colour to provide a texture to a monolithic surface.

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