If you want to get a glimpse of the future, just look to the city of Shenzhen, China. This city is completely transforming with a new initiative to add 12 cultural facilities. As one of the upcoming facilities, a project known as the Shenzhen Institute of Design and Innovation has won first prize in an international design competition for its beauty and innovative ideas to transform Shenzhen.

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rendering of large white building on stilts with gardens underneath

The new institute, designed by Dominique Perrault Architecture and Zhubo Design Co., will be a part of the Southern University of Science and Technology campus, which was built in 2011. The large building is designed to look like a horizontal line and was inspired by the character “一” used in Chinese writing. The 700-meter-long building will be set against a backdrop of mountains in a harmonious, ambitious design that is both modern and yet organic, somehow part of the landscape.

Related: A skyscraper will purify Shenzhen’s air with aquaponic gardens

rendering of city streets leading to long, white building

“Reflecting the athmosphere [sic] of a line of mountain and water, it creates a large-scale landmark, a horizontal line in the site detached from the ground like a large bridge,” the architects said in a project statement.

rendering of long white building in front of a mountain

The Shenzhen Institute of Design and Innovation will appear to hover off the land. Beneath the “floating” building will be gardens and public spaces. Domed areas will make room for the library, the refectory, exhibition halls, the auditorium and the student club common area. This building will accommodate 4,000 students and will be joined by a new opera house, the exhibition center and several new museums, including the design museum, the national museum and the museum of science and technology. There will also be a museum of art and a music conservatory.

drawing of building with white slats on the facade in front of forest

The roof itself is a promenade that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding city and the mountains in the distance. There is a garden for everyone to enjoy, along with athletic courts, terraces and plazas. The vegetation on the roof provides natural insulation for the interior of the building. Photovoltaic panels provide renewable energy.

+ Dominique Perrault Architecture

Image via Dominique Perrault Architecture