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Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects to design Chengdu Natural History Museum

pelli clarke pelli architects design for chengdu natural history museum copyright Steelblue LLC

The award-winning company, in collaboration with China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute Corp. Ltd. (CSWADI), won against strong competition in an international contest.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects saw off competition from firms such as Zaha Hadid Architects, Sutherland Hussey Harris, Nihon Sekkei, Valode & Pistre and FUKSAS.

Their design takes its inspiration from the geological forms of the Sichuan Basin.  Shifting tectonic plates and volcanic activity combined to cause the unique uplift of the plateau. In addition, the pools and streams that will frame the museum take their reference from the ancient Shu water irrigation system.

The new museum will be an important new cultural landmark for Chendgu.  The city, which has always been culturally and historically rich, is now enjoying an economic book as it reinvents itself as a high-tech and entrepreneurial hub.  The building will be situated in the eastern section of the city.

The Chengdu Natural History Museum will have a footprint of 62,700 square meters (674,897square feet).  According to the architects it will include innovative exhibition and educational spaces, a gift shop and café, cinemas, and outdoor spaces. The exhibition space will be flexible, showing a range of permanent, temporary and interactive exhibits.

“Vibrant heart of the building”

Natural light will stream in through the tall central atrium.  It will be the “vibrant heart of the building”, connecting the museum to the city and to public amenity spaces.

 “The greatest feature of this design is that it managed to maintain a vertical visual impression of the building while the human-scale experience of it is in a horizontal way,” one member of the expert jury panel commented.  “The scheme integrates architecture, landscape and the surrounding environment well.”

“Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects is honoured to have won this international competition,” said Fred Clarke, Senior Design Principal at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

“We look forward to a strong partnership with our client and CSWADI toward creating a building that embodies the uniqueness of the city of Chengdu and the mission of this important cultural institution within the community,” added Kristin Hawkins, Associate Principal.

Pelli Clarke Pelli has offices in New Haven, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi.  It is famous for a huge range of the world’s most recognisable buildings, from the World Financial Center in New York to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

The Chengdu Natural History Museum is currently scheduled for completion in 2021.

Image copyright: Steelblue LLC

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