david chipperfield architects: rockbund project and art museum
david chipperfield architects: rockbund project and art museum david chipperfield architects: rockbund project and art museum
jun 03, 2010

david chipperfield architects: rockbund project and art museum

following the establishment of international trading relations in the nineteenth century, shanghai emerged as a commercial and cultural centre of east asia, becoming home to a large number of european commercial offices and consulates. the influence of european building approaches, combined with asian elements, is prevalent in the metropolitan chinese city’s art deco style, particularly notable in the establishments along the bund, shanghai’s boulevard on the west bank of the huangpu river. today, an ensemble of historic buildings, now called the rockbund project, reflect the diversity of the colonial architecture, forming the northern part of the bund.



rooftop view of the rockbund art museum with chinese artist cai guo-qiang’s ‘never learned how to land’ written across the building’s side façade and du wenda’s ‘flying saucer C’ and ‘flying saucer D’ image © designboom



a team of international architects has been invited to restore the existing buildings of this area. along with planning new ones, they will help revitalize the ‘rockbund project’ (that began in 2006), which will eventually accommodate complexes, hotels, retail spaces and apartments.

british architect david chipperfield has been commissioned with the restoration and conversion of eleven of these buildings: royal asiatic society (R.A.S.) building (1932), national industrial bank

(N.I.B.) (1929), andrews & george building (1987), amprie & co. building (1908), yuan ming yuan apartment (1904), YWCA building (1933), somekh apartment (1936), associate mission building (1923), lyceum building (1927), china baptist publication (1932) and christian literature society building (1932).



exterior view of the rockbund art museum image © designboom



the aim of chipperfield’s restoration concept is to present the aged buildings with dignity and style. all façades will be carefully cleaned and repaired without destroying their original fabric. subsequent conversions will be removed and buildings returned as close to their original state as possible. existing structures within the roof area of some buildings will be expanded in reaction to contemporary changes in usage.

the extensions to the national industrial bank (N.I.B) and the royal asiatic society (R.A.S.) buildings are visible from the bund’s museum square, the inner courtyard located in the south-west area of the block. the new façades have been rendered using ‘shanghai plaster’ of the same quality that is used on the adjoining buildings. the former R.A.S. building, which once housed china’s first public museum, now houses the rockbund art museum – a museum of contemporary art.



front view of the art deco style building photo by christian richters



interior view of the rockbund art museum photo by simon menges



inside the rockbund art museum’s art deco style building, chipperfield’s newly created areas enable a range of different presentation concepts and the volumes of the upper floors have been spatially linked through the development of a new atrium.

most recently, after 7 months of restoration and construction work, the rockbund art museum, shanghai opened to public may 4th, with an inaugural exhibition of work by chinese artist cai guo-qiang, which designboom visited. cai guo-qiang’s ‘peasant da vincis’ will be on show until august 8th, 2010.



installation view of cai guo-qiang’s ‘kites’, 2010 at the rockbund museum 49 handmade paper and bamboo kites, 49 steel stands, 49 miniature electric fans, 49 pocket projectors photo by simon menges



photo by simon menges



interior view of the museum with its many skylights and windows allowing sunlight to filter through the space image © designboom



installation view of cai guo-qiang’s fairytale, 2010 at the rockbund art museum grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang, submarines by li yuming, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai, flying saucers by du wenda image © designboom



rooftop view of the rockbund art museum photo by simon menges



the expansion of the andres & george building to create the rockbund 6 sector will see its historic fabric being combined with contemporary architecture. the listed three-storey façade of the existing building that marks the southern edge of the planning area will be renovated,

with eleven storeys added in the form of a stacked construction. the whole rockbund project will be accomplished with the completion of rockbund 6 in 2013. the remainder of the restoration works on the façades of the historic buildings will be finished by the end of 2010.



the rockbund art museum illuminated by night image © designboom



project details: client: shanghai bund de rockefeller group master development co., ltd. architect: david chipperfield architects (DCA) principal: david chipperfield director: mark randel project architect: thomas spranger project team: markus bauer, kamlesh bava, thomas benk, belinda chan, libin chen, andrea garcía crespo, maryla duleba, maik engler, dirk gschwind, michael haverland, frithjof kahl, fabian körner, nicolas kulemeyer, chuxiao li, maoxue li, dahlia liksaite, fernando gomez martinez, adrian peach, ilona priwitzer, martin reichert, mariska rohde, fransziska rusch, gunda schulz, lutz schütter, lijun shen, daniel sommer, miriam von busch, daniela voss, jiaying wang, boris wolf, liping xu, jiacong yang landscape architect: levin monsigny landschaftsarchitekten, berlin, germany structural engineer: shanghai zhang ming architectural design firm (historic buildings), china construction (shenzen) design international (rockbund 6) services concept: advens AG basel, switzerland (rockbund art museum) services engineer: china construction (shenzen) design international lighting concept: schlothfeldt lichtplaner, berlin, germany lighting consultant: brandston partnership inc. (BPI) shanghai project management: shanghai bund de rockefeller group master development co., ltd. project controlling: shanghai bund de rockefeller group master development co., ltd. quantity surveyor: shanghai bund de rockefeller group master development co., ltd. contact architect: shanghai zhang ming architectural design firm (historic buildings), china construction (shenzen) design international (new buildings) implementation: shanghai zhang ming architectural design firm graphics: ute zscharnt for david chipperfield architects, graphia international limited, hong kong, alan chan design co., hong kong (rockbund art museum) start date: 2006 restoration strategy: 2007 concept study: 2007 construction start: june 2009 completion: may 2010 (rockbund art museum, further historic buildings) completion due: 2013 (rockbund 6) gross floor area: 96,000 m2 total development by DCA and further architects, 47,600 m2 development by DCA (35,500 m2 historic buildings, 2,300 m2 rockbund art museum, 9,800 m2 rockbund 6)

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