A proposed new centre of art and culture in the region, the Wuxi Museum and Art Park builds on the cues of the Chinese garden tradition whose legacy has long been part of the Wuxi-Suzhou-Shanghai area. Interlocked and Intertwined with the porous museum experience of courtyards and galleries, the architecture and the landscape of Wuxi Art museum share a language that extends the experience of the museum from the inside out.
Ennead and West 8 collaborated closely on the design of the entire art experience. Inspired by Wuxi’s wetland ecology and the regional tradition of water management and canals, we asked ourselves, how can we bring human experience to this rich heritage and embed the museum back within the context? As the landscape and architecture symbiotically expand and contract, the sequence of experiences invites the visitor to explore and immerse themselves within a layered system of sculpture gardens.
Set within Shangxianhe Wetland Park, the museum’s site design and architectural form closely connect to the natural context and integrate the museum experience with the natural environment. Serving as a symbol of Wuxi’s past, present and future, the building becomes a set piece in a larger overall composition, highlighting views in and out of the museum through its cracks and crevices: a carefully composed choreography that unfolds something new with each successive step.
At the main entry, the Museum welcomes visitors with an embracing civic plaza which becomes an exhibit opportunity for public art. A Central Court provides a reference point for the museum, with a lily-filled waterscape for reflection and tranquillity. Additional carved voids from the museum massing – inspired by the Taihu stone, a type of limestone often used in traditional gardens in the region – define distinct outdoor realms. The result is an intimate relationship and intertwining of framed views to outdoor art exhibits set within composed natural scenes. The curated path meanders through various gardens, courtyards, and plazas with open lawns and playscapes. a flexible green space for an Outdoor Amphitheatre allows visitors to enjoy art projections, movie screenings and performances. Throughout this sequence of signature sculptures and art installations, the visitors are invited to an immersive experience of both art and nature in harmony.
As Landscape Architects, West 8 collaborated with Ennead on the winning design competition entry in 2019.