MAD Architects unveil scheme for Shenzhen Bay Culture Park

MAD’s ambitious culture park in Houhai, Shenzhen, includes a Creative Design Hall, the Shenzhen Science and Technology Museum and green spaces along the oceanfront.

by STIRworld Published on : Jul 25, 2020

Beijing-based studio MAD Architects has unveiled its ambitious masterplan for the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park – a cultural complex embracing a total built area of 182,000 square metres. Due for completion in 2023, the project includes the Creative Design Hall, the Shenzhen Science and Technology Museum and a vast green public park along the city’s oceanfront. Headed by MAD Architects founder Ma Yansong, the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park seeks to establish a dialogue between the past and future through the creation of an “ethereal artistic urban landscape” that is familiar and yet entirely novel in character.

01 mins watch The Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD Architects |Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD Architects | STIRworld
The Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD Architects Video Credit: Courtsey of MAD Architects

Occupying a waterfront site in the Houhai area of Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park aims to lay the foundations for cultural integration within the megacity. Housing world-class multinational companies, this Chinese ‘Silicon Valley’ equivalent district symbolises the area’s propensity for economic and technological advancements. MAD Architects' proposal suggests an alternate development within this innovation hub-like context that prioritises creative growth. Constituting one of the 10 new cultural facilities with the Shenzhen city development at the helm, the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park embodies Shenzhen’s aspirations of establishing itself as a "city of culture with global influence".

Model depicting MAD’s scheme for the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park through its  site plan.|Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
Model depicting MAD’s scheme for the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park through its site planImage Credit: Guo Xuan

“When building a cultural landmark on a site positioned between the dynamic energy of a modern city and the quiet timelessness of nature, it should be imagined as a free civic space – a land art park with its functions complementing its aesthetics,” says Ma Yansong.

MAD’s scheme for the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park with its green roofs and monumental stone buildings |Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
MAD’s masterplan for the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park with its green roofs and monumental stone buildings Image Credit: MIR, Proloog

The masterplan for the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD Architects is conceived around sweeping green roofs and sunken courtyards. Majority of the project remains subterranean - the reception, standard exhibition halls, library, public education spaces and other primary programs concealed under the gently sloping green roofs. These sprawling lawns, open to the public throughout the length of the day, are used as performance and exhibition spaces. At the centre of the plot is a mirrored pool envisioned as an “en plein air seaside amphitheatre” capable of accommodating 10,000 visitors. The landscape makes provisions for a multiple platforms including outdoor performance venues, public art exhibitions, music festivals and other domestic and global events aimed at fostering cultural interactions.

Diagram illustrating programmatic strategies and how they are distributed across the site.|Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
Diagram illustrating programmatic strategies and how these are distributed across the site Image Credit: Courtesy of MAD Architects

Located on the first floor, the main public area houses a number of standard exhibition halls catering to a range of works including the display of sculptures and special collections. Consistent with floor-to-ceiling windows and a series of skylights, the interiors of the main public space are replete with sunlight. Apart from harnessing daylight, the windows quietly focus on pulling the natural landscape of the park inwards, blurring the distinction between the outdoors and indoors. The versatility of these public gallery spaces allows them to satisfy a variety of programmatic needs.

  • Interiors of the public exhibition space with floor to ceiling windows and a central pool.|Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
    Interiors of the public exhibition space with floor to ceiling windows and a central pool. Image Credit: MIR,Proloog
  • Interiors of the tall exhibition space.|Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
    Interiors of the tall exhibition space. Image Credit: MIR,Proloog

The monumental stone like pavilions positioned on the north and south end of the site define MAD Architects’s scheme for the masterplan. Set against the backdrop of the city’s commercial district and facing the tranquil oceanfront, MAD Architects's intentions to create a “surreal atmosphere” transcending time and space are brought to life by these museums.

  • The monumental stone pavilions positioned on opposite sides of the expanse |Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
    The monumental stone pavilions positioned on opposite sides of the expanse Image Credit: MIR,Proloog
  • The Northern pavilions and 24 hour “citizens park”|Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
    The Northern pavilions and 24 hour “citizens park” Image Credit: MIR,Proloog

The gallery space on the top of the south pavilion leads to a panoramic viewing platform offering uninterrupted views of the bay of Shenzhen and its skyline. The generously tall exhibition hall, with its highest space soaring to 30 metres, allows a diversity in display ranging from large-scale installations to videos, multimedia, performances and architectural effects.

Viewing platform cum performance space  on the top of the south pavilion|Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
Viewing platform cum performance space on the top of the south pavilion Image Credit: MIR,Proloog

The park is designed to bridge an unnoticeable transition from the city’s main road towards the waterfront. Pedestrian pathways and cycling tracks connect the buildings and the green spaces, providing users with expansive leisure spaces.

Pathways weaving between the buildings and public lawn|Shenzhen Bay Culture Park by MAD | STIRworld
Pathways connecting the buildings and public lawn Image Credit: MIR,Proloog

Project Details:

Name: Shenzhen Bay Culture Park
Typology: Exhibition Halls, Park
Site Area: Approx. 51,000 square meters
Building Area: 182,000 square meters
Principal Partners-in-Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate Partners-in-Charge: Kin Li, Tiffany Dahlen
Design Team: Li Cunhao, Zhang Chao, Neeraj Mahajan, Sun Shouquan, Zhang Yaohui, Huang Jinkun, Maria Corella, Kenji Hada, Lin Zi Han, Yu Lin, Yan Ran, Chen Yi-en, Liu Hailun, Pittayapa Suriyapee, Lei Kaiyun, Alessandro Fisalli, Edgar Navarrete S., Haruka Tomoeda, Lu Zihao
Executive Architect: East China Architectural Design and Research Institute

(Text by Saamia Makharia, an intern at stirworld.com)

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