kengo kuma renovates wuxi art gallery in china with sculptural extension
image © eiichi kano / all images courtesy of kengo kuma and associates

 

 

 

in wuxi, a city near shanghai in eastern china, japanese architect kengo kuma has converted a former cotton mill into an arts and shopping complex. the original red brick building, which dates back to the 1960s, has been completely renovated, while a sculptural addition lends the venue a new sense of identity. in designing the extension, the architects referenced the shape of a local stone that remains significant in taihu culture.

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a former cotton mill has been converted into an arts and shopping complex
image © eiichi kano

 

 

 

a shallow pool of water surrounds the gallery, delineating a threshold and providing a connection with the natural environment. the structure itself comprises a number of aluminum cast panels that allow sunlight to gently filter inside the glazed exhibition space. the extension forms am amoeba-shaped footprint, joined to the brickwork of the former mill. the renovated building provides further gallery space, alongside a range of retail outlets and offices.

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the structure comprises a series of porous aluminum cast panels
image © eiichi kano

 

 

 

benches and other furniture designed by kengo kuma are placed throughout all areas of the scheme, providing a unifying visual aesthetic. occupying more than 10,000 square meters, the development serves as a connection between the site’s industrial past, and its cultural future.

 

in recent years kengo kuma has completed a number of projects in china, including a folk art museum and a tea house formed of polyethylene blocks. see more work by the renowned japanese architect on designboom here.

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a shallow pool of water surrounds the gallery, delineating a threshold
image © eiichi kano

kengo-kuma-wuxi-vanke-art-gallery-china-designboom-02
the façade allows sunlight to filter inside the exhibition space
image © eiichi kano

kengo-kuma-wuxi-vanke-art-gallery-china-designboom-02
the renovated mill provides further gallery space, alongside a range of retail outlets and offices
image © eiichi kano

kengo-kuma-wuxi-vanke-art-gallery-china-designboom-02
benches and other furniture designed by kengo kuma are placed throughout the scheme
image © eiichi kano

kengo-kuma-wuxi-vanke-art-gallery-china-designboom-02
the development serves as a connection between the site’s industrial past, and its cultural future
image © eiichi kano

 

drawings

 

project info:

 

location: wuxi, china
architects: kengo kuma and associates
program: art gallery, office, commercial
area: 10,440.22 sqm
photography: eiichi kano