MAD Architects just unveiled the China Wood Sculpture Museum in Harbin, northern China. The long, polished steel building twists and curves while bringing a bit of nature and abstraction to the urban setting. Skylights on the top draw natural light into the halls, while a thick shell minimizes energy losses. Featuring wood sculptures and paintings from the region, the China Wood Sculpture Museum is a break from the city.
Located across from a park and backed by a dense neighborhood and buildings, the China Wood Sculpture Museum is a long, low volume. As with many of MAD’s projects, the form is organic and flows like a liquid frozen in time. The Beijing-based firm wanted to create an abstraction of nature in the city. At 196 meters long, the building is inspired by both the local scenery and the often snowy winters. Inside the 13,000-square-meter museum are local wood sculptures and paintings of the regional scenery covered in ice and snow.
The exterior is clad in polished steel plates that reflect the building’s surroundings and change with the light throughout the day. On the top, three generous skylights split the surface and usher daylight into three of the interior halls. As the museum is located in a northern latitude, the skylights are aimed to accept light from low angles in the winter. The envelope is solid and thick to minimize energy loss, and accessory windows in the middle and at the two ends provide light for specific spaces. The China Wood Sculpture Museum‘s organic form and reflective exterior provides a break from the linear restrictions of the city and hints at the nature and art exhibited within.
Images ©Iwan Baan