steven holl chosen for culture and art center of qingdao city
all images courtesy of steven holl architects

 

 

 

steven holl can add yet another project to his repertoire of buildings in china. the new york and beijing-based architect has been selected to realize the new culture and art center of qingdao city in china, a 2 million square foot construction that is part of a greater masterplan. the site is approached via the linear form of the jiaozhou bay bridge–the longest link over water–that is extended onto the property in the form of a ‘light loop’ which directs circulation around the complex. this curving structure houses galleries and connects the center’s primary museum spaces–art islands, or yishudao–that take the form of three sculpted cubes. in addition, this prominent architectural feature facilitates the shaping of the public space, along with the yishudao concepts that include smaller landscape art islands that form outdoor sculpture gardens.

 

 

steven holl chosen for culture and art center of qingdao city
a ‘light loop’ directs circulation around the site while also shaping the outdoor spaces

 

 

 

in conceiving the plan for the culture and art center, steven holl architects considered the indoor and outdoor programmes equally–the fusion of landscape and architecture is a concept derived from early chinese scroll paintings. at the heart of the scheme, there is a plaza dedicated to large gatherings that overlook an expansive water garden shaped by the modern art museum. the public arts museum outlines the main experience of entry from the south, while the north yishudao contains the classic art museum, with a hotel housed in its upper levels; and the south yishudao, that hosts the performing arts program, floats over a large south reflecting pool.

 

 

steven holl chosen for culture and art center of qingdao city
the major programmes of the center are housed within three sculptural cubic volumes

 

 

 

horizontal galleries within the ‘light loop’ receive natural luminosity through the roof, with the intensity of the sun controlled with 20% screens, as well as black out options. the 20-meter wide section of the snaking configuration allow side lighting to the lower level galleries, providing space for two exhibition areas side by side, avoiding dead-end circulation. five terraced pools animating the surroundings further play with brightness on the interior through skylights.

 

 

steven holl chosen for culture and art center of qingdao city
view of the three cubes connected by the ‘light loop’

 

 

 

the basic design is comprised of a simple monochrome exterior of sanded marine aluminium and stained concrete, with the undersides of the ‘light loop’ covered in a rich polychrome of colors reminiscent of ancient chinese architecture. the natural terrain is planted with a variety of trees and vegetation that indicate special areas, while the merging of sedum and paving stones keeps the hardscape green and porous. drawing on its proximity to jiaozhou bay, the inclusion of moving water features and fountains can be found throughout.

 

 

steven holl chosen for culture and art center of qingdao city

 

 

while the overall plan has clear entry points with gates at the south east north and west, an accompanying pedestrian tram loop will connect all aspects of the site. moving at a slow rate, it will let visitors easily exit the moving walkway at many points across the center.

 

 

steven holl chosen for culture and art center of qingdao city
outdoor areas are equally important as the interior spaces

 

 

 

almost all of the cultural institution employs sustainable green technologies, as seen through the placement of photovoltaic cells between skylights that will provide 80% of the museum’s electrical needs, while the reflecting ponds will recycle water, and 480 geothermal wells will provide heating and cooling.

 

 

steven holl chosen for culture and art center of qingdao city
view of the center along the jiaozhou bay

 

 

steven holl chosen for culture and art center of qingdao city
terraced reflecting pools animate the landscape

 

 

project info:

 

name: qingdao culture and art center
location: qingdao, , china
date: invited competition, 2013
client: hongdao development and construction department & qingdao urban planning bureau
architect: steven holl architects
team: steven holl (design architect); roberto bannura (project director); garrick ambrose, michael rusch (associates in charge); xi chen (project architect); noah yaffe (project advisor); janine biunno, bell ying yi cai, nathalie frankowski, yu-ju lin, magdalena naydekova , yun shi, wenying sun, manta weihermann, yiqing zhao (project team)