Perkins & Will took a biomimetic approach to the new Shanghai Natural History Museum, a sprawling 479,180 square-foot facility with three unique facades and topped with a swirling green roof. Overall the design mimics a nautilus shell found in nature, but it comprises several other components that support the museum's function as a showcase of 10,000 artifacts from 7 continents. Recently completed in an urban site at the heart of downtown Shanghai, the project wraps around a central oval pond that provides a visual anchor while guests traverse the spiraling exhibition route.
Three facades represent three facets of nature: the interior wall represents the cellular network of plants and animals while also filtering natural light and minimizing summertime solar gain; the east wall is covered with a metal trellis and vines, representing the Earth and improving the microclimate, and the north wall, comprised of stone, mimics shifting tectonic plates and canyons sculpted by eons of erosion. A bioclimatic structure that responds to the variable elements, this space holds exhibition facilities, a 4D theater and a large glass-walled atrium. An outdoor exhibit garden extends the museum outdoors.
Pushing the boundaries of museum design in a way we’ve never really seen before, Perkins & Will brings the forces of nature to bear in a sustainable design that recycles grey water and collects rainwater, regulates the interior temperature with a geothermal system, uses evaporative cooling, and also showcases energy features as part of the museum’s numerous exhibits. Located in the Jing An Sculpture Park, the renovated museum boasts 20 times as much exhibition space as the former museum, a favorite among locals. No doubt they will be enthralled by the new space, which is a masterpiece.
Via Arch Daily
Images via James and Connor Steinkamp