Press Releases 05.13.2022

Huzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Museum Commemorates the City’s 4,700 Year History of Silk Cultivation and Celebrate its Future

The design by our Shanghai studio combines the essence of water and silk
The original siting and orientation strategy focused on enhancing the picturesque waterfront and mountain views to the northwest.

A Gem on the Historical Silk Route

Situated on the southern banks of Tai Lake with city of Shanghai to the east, the historic city of Huzhou is well-known as one of the birthplaces of silk cultivation. Around 60 years ago, a number of silk artifacts were discovered on the outskirts of Huzhou, dating back to 4,000 years ago. Today, the silk and textile industries still play an important role in Huzhou’s overall economic development.

As the only city in the region to reference Tai Lake in its name, Huzhou led our team to envision an urban planning exhibition museum for the city inspired by the fluidity of water and the texture of silk. The building houses a collection of exhibition halls, offices, a conference center and educational classrooms. The nature park and lake surrounding the museum attracts nearby residents, creating an active cultural and community gathering place.

Located between the CBD and the Tai Lake Holiday Resort Area, the project is a key component of Huzhou’s Olympic Sports Center and Wetlands Park. Set within a lush green landscape with a view to the scenic mountains nearby, the museum is a prominent cultural landmark within the area.

The original siting and orientation strategy focused on enhancing the picturesque waterfront and mountain views to the northwest.  The museum’s form and positioning takes advantages of the natural attributes of the site while offering an iconic gesture to the city’s history and culture.

"Huzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Museum combines the city’s past, present and future, displaying Huzhou’s history, culture and grand vision. It is a window to showcase the city and is an urban living room for Huzhou’s culture and spirit, where citizens and visitors, alike, can understand, appreciate, and participate in the development of Huzhou."

—Kun Tao, Vice President of Huzhou Urban Planning and Design Institute

Referencing the natural process of silk production, the building consists of two cocoon-shaped volumes connected by a glass entry hall. The graceful ribbon-like façade is inspired by the organic forms of water and silk. Undulations in the curtain wall allow abundant natural light into the spaces within, while creating a sense of fluidity in the façade.

Aerial view of Huzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Museum.
The graceful ribbon-like facade is inspired by the organic forms of water and silk.

Connecting with Nature

Enclosed on each end by full height glass facades, the entry hall seamlessly connects visitors with the surrounding landscape. The folded metal forms of the exterior façade have been continued through into the interior, with its materiality replaced by wooden louvers to create a warm and inviting ambience. The organically shaped skylights above are reminiscent of the local Taihu stone and bring additional natural light into the space, while reducing the need of artificial lighting during the daytime.

The physical scale model of Huzhou, located in the larger of the two cocoon forms.

Main Exhibition Hall

Located in the larger of the two cocoon forms, the highlight of the project is, without a doubt, the physical scale model of Huzhou. As one of the largest urban planning models in China, it showcases a fascinating story of the region’s illustrious past, while focusing on Huzhou’s long-term development plans and its commitment to a green and sustainable future.

Visitor Circulation

The internal circulation strategy is a modern interpretation of the meandering character of traditional Chinese gardens. Different themed spaces have been dispersed along the main exhibition route and offers panoramic views to the outside. Completing the program of the museum is a library and cafe, allowing guests a calming and engaging place to rest during their visit.

South side of the building.

Sustainability

The museum has been awarded China’s Three-Star Green Building certification. The design of the building and the site maintains a cohesive and organic relationship which respects and protects the adjacent natural wetlands and its vegetation. Through a series of sunlight simulation studies, the building’s form, orientation and façade design were optimized to allow an abundance of natural light into the interior spaces. Operable glazing panels in the curtain wall also allow the use of natural ventilation during appropriate times of the year in order to reduce additional energy consumption. The project also incorporates a rainwater collection system, use of recycled materials and other energy-saving smart technologies to further reduce its carbon footprint.