Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen Library North Venue, Shenzhen

Library and museum in one and the same place. How?

The major city of Shenzhen with its 12 million inhabitants is fast becoming not just a business but also a cultural trailblazer. The new art museum and library buildings with a total footprint of some 250 × 100 meters affording about 138,000 square meters of space symbolize an ambitious mission: to establish Shenzhen as a creative and cultural metropolis.

We created a venue for activity, interaction, and communication. The shape of the building, its uniform stone façade, and the museum’s projecting roof link the two building sections visually. The roof symbolizes a door to the world of knowledge, art, and culture. The public plaza provides a space for dialog, not just between the building sections but also between visitors, the urban space, and our architecture.

In the interior, the library’s bright rooms form a kind of “urban living room”. Open galleries with bookshelves and reading areas arranged around a central atrium into which daylight falls from above, fostering an intimate and calm atmosphere. The intention is for visitors to enjoy using the five-story reading room, which boasts some 2,2000 desks.

With its expansive glass façade, the museum opposite is both open and inviting. Architecturally, we opted for a different emphasis here: Natural stone (symbolizing the origins of art and crafts) and mineral surfaces form a calm background and set the architectural frame in which are is presented. The exhibition levels are terraced downwards in the glass atrium and to the plaza, and double up as a viewing platform from where you can watch the city and plaza alike.

The buildings engage like two shaking hands. With a covered plaza in-between.

Project: Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen Library North Venue, Shenzhen

Client: Shenzhen Art Museum und Shenzhen Library

GFA: 137,610 m²

Competition: 11/2015, 1st prize

Completion: 2023

Awards: Shenzhen Architecture Design Prize, 1st prize

Photo: Rawvision

“An inspiring place should also feature generous open spaces.”

The central idea underlying the design: a public venue that blends art, culture and public space – a place where people and culture interact. The wide projecting roof protects this combination of entrance plaza, museum and library and bonds them symbolically. The result: a new, cultural meeting place in Shenzhen’s urban fabric.

Relevant themes from architecture and urban planning

The city as an infinite project

Driving Innovation Together