Ennead Architects designs Wuxi Art Museum to emulate “natural erosion”

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Ennead Architects designs Wuxi Art Museum to emulate “natural erosion”

New York studio Ennead Architects has unveiled its design for a museum to be built inside Shangxianhe Wetland Park in the city of Wuxi, China.

Called the Wuxi Art Museum, the building will feature perforated surfaces and eroded cavities informed by Taihu stone – a type of limestone often used in traditional gardens in the region.

Aerial view of Wuxi Art Museum
Wuxi Art Museum will be located in a local wetland park

Both the perforated facade and large voids mimic the impact of erosion on the porous Taihu stone.

The pointed limestone facade and translucent glass curtain wall will allow natural daylight into the interior of the museum, while creating a contrasting finish between roughness and smoothness.

Wuxi Art Museum's main entrance
The carved out voids from the museum base form outdoor exhibition space

“Our vision for the Wuxi Art Museum is to place it in a larger overall composition, bringing views into and elevating us from the museum through subtractive notches and recesses, while mimicking the natural erosion of spirit stones,” said Thomas J Wong, partner of Ennead Architects, said.

At the base of the building, the carved out voids will be used as sheltered outdoor spaces for hosting events and exhibitions.

Next to the museum will be a civic square where art will be exhibited. Different gardens, courtyards and plazas will provide flexible space for visitors to enjoy art projections, movie screenings and performances.

Ennead collaborated with West 8 Landscape Architects on the design of the surrounding landscape based on the local wetland ecology and canal system.

Wuxi Art Museum public passage
The design of the structure is determined by Taihu stone with perforated surfaces and eroded cavities

Pedestrian bridges connecting galleries on the upper levels of the museum will create views of a central courtyard with a lily-filled waterscape below.

“The new art museum will serve as a symbol of Wuxi’s past, present and future, so it was important to us that its design emerge from the cultural history of the garden city and artfully integrate art, landscape and the museum experience into ‘ an inseparable synthesizing whole,” said Brian H Masuda, co-principal of Ennead Architects.

Last year, Ennead Architects completed a museum in Shanghai with no straight lines or right angles to reflect the shapes and geometry within the universe. The studio also recently unveiled its design for the Milwaukee Public Museum building in Wisconsin, based on geological formations.

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