Global architecture firm Perkins+Will will design the Suzhou Science & Technology Museum, the centerpiece of a new cultural district in Shishan Park, about 62 miles northwest of Shanghai.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to design the new Suzhou Science & Technology Museum,” said Ralph Johnson, Global Design Director of Perkins+Will. “Our design recognizes the importance of Suzhou in China’s commercial history, and underscores its role at the forefront of China’s emergence as a technology leader and innovator. The museum also draws inspiration from the natural environment surrounding it.”
The museum will reinforce Suzhou’s image as a technology leader and innovator, while respecting its unique relationship to Lion Mountain and the natural beauty of the site.
Embedded into the landscape, the building is a visual extension of the Lion Mountain landform – one that intimately integrates the architecture with its site through the use of terraces, outdoor roof gardens, and overall building form.
The building will also express a forward-looking architecture, drawing inspiration from the ecology of nature and traditional Chinese elements to create a timeless, thoughtful, and visually iconic building that embodies the spirit of innovation, exploration, and discovery.
As a “cultural event” within the master plan, the museum will be a catalyst to draw visitors the world over, with its overall mission being to improve scientific literacy and facilitate the dissemination of scientific ideas and methods to current and new generations of people.
The museum concept melds the city’s heritage as a major trading center on the Yangtze River – sometimes known as “the Venice of the East” – with a contemporary look that reflects the city’s current wave of innovation. It’s ribbon-like form emerges from the base of Lion Mountain, twisting upward and turning back on itself to cantilever out over the edge of Shishan Lake and an archipelago of small islands to reengage the mountain. This form creates an iconic infinity loop–an enduring symbol of prosperity–with the metallic facades evoking a flowing silk scarf, one of Suzhou’s most coveted exports. The lake itself will include several man-made, teardrop-shaped, planted Eco Islands, connected by walkway to the museum and serving as both a filtration system for the lake as an opportunity for environmental exploration and education.
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