Giant monster snake? Or something more artful…
You’ll be seeing things from a totally different perspective if you visit this museum in Nanjing, China. The unique design of the Nanjing Contemporary Art & Architecture Museum was created by US-based Steven Holl Architects.
Spectacular serpentine style
At first glance you may wonder where the inspiration came from – a submarine telescope, or something more reptilian? Actually its shape is intentionally designed to give visitors parallel perspectives, a major feature of the 13th century Chinese artworks the museum contains.
And so you can take in multiple views of the surroundings thanks to the twists and turns of the building and its different tiers, including a courtyard garden at the base which uses recycled bricks from ancient Chinese buildings long since demolished.
Seemingly ‘hovering’ in mid air
The bamboo-textured bottom layer of the building is black, heavy and dense, yet as it turns it becomes light and airy thanks to the translucent polycarbonate cladding, creating the effect that the upper section is seemingly ‘hovering’ in mid air.
There’s plenty of panoramic perspective when you visit the upper galleries, but it’s not the main draw. Indeed, the fact that it’s a veritable white-out inside the building, thanks to an extremely limited colour scheme, and the white-toned cladding, gives the feeling of a private and secluded experience.
Museum and architecture exhibit in its own right
It is however a very odd sight – jutting out from the hills in Nanjing – yet its snaking-shape coiling up amongst the trees delivers the shifting viewpoints so treasured and celebrated in Chinese art. And at the same time, it somehow manages to be both a museum and an architecture exhibit in its own right. Whatever your perspective is on this building, you can’t deny it has got spectacular serpentine style.
Author: Liz Wilson Date written: 29 October 2012