daniel libeskind has completed a museum building in china, which forms his studio’s first project in the country.
daniel libeskind has completed a museum building in china, which forms his studio’s first project in the country. located in wuhan, the capital of china’s hubei province, the new institution is dedicated to zhang zhidong, a prominent historical and local figure, who helped modernize wuhan through the industrial revolution. the 77,930-square-foot scheme (7,240 sqm) reflects this industrial past by referencing the city’s steel and shipbuilding heritage.
developed in collaboration with china vanke, the steel-clad museum forms a sweeping ark-like structure that is elevated above its surrounding plaza. ‘for the museum of zhang zhidong, my goal was not to simply create another museum, but to give wuhan and the region a new destination,’ said daniel libeskind. ‘by lifting the museum up, we were able to create a new public plaza while delivering to the city a world-class cultural institution that reflects the future and spirit of wuhan.’
two steel and glass structures house the entrance lobby, main stairs, museum store, and library, and administration offices. once inside, visitors climb the main staircase that connects to the exhibition spaces above. on the second story, a semi-circular auditorium features an oculus that opens to reveal a panoramic view of the old steelworks next door. a central atrium connects the three levels while bringing natural light into the galleries. meanwhile, the top floor is reserved for future temporary exhibitions.
conceived by diameter narrative design, the exhibition spaces are divided into four themes that center around the life of zhang zhidong. while the first theme compares contemporary and historical views of zhang zhidong, the remainder of exhibition examines his ideas, their practical implementation, and his contribution to industrialism. the exhibition also includes various collaborations with local artists.
at the apex of the building, a lattice opening allows for views out towards the city of wuhan. meanwhile, the landscaped areas below and surrounding the museum emphasize radiating lines and rings. the plaza features a nautical dial pattern, with china’s major cities inscribed into the paving. the hardscape uses local stone materials mixed with salvaged stone and brick works from site demolition.