Hong Kong – The Art & Design Museum, situated at the heart of Shapu Art Town in Shenzhen's Bao'an District, is designed as a cultural hub and landmark for a new neighbourhood built on a previously undeveloped plot of land. The Museum anchors Art Town – a group of recently built spaces for the arts – linking the cluster of studios, galleries, art schools, and exhibition spaces into a unified cultural district.
By introducing a vibrant mix of uses and fostering community, the Museum and Art Town generate the rich sense of place that typically arises as neighbourhoods develop over time. Together, they define the district – which had no history or sense of identity – as a major destination for the arts.
To create a core for the previously disjointed area, the design introduces a network of public gathering places and walkways that organise the surroundings into a cohesive neighbourhood centered on the Museum. Lifting the galleries off the ground and suspending them in a floating volume, the design opens up a public plaza that spans the site's length. Punctuated by sunken courtyards connected to the Museum's basement, the plaza creates a new neighbourhood centre that links Art Town Main Street with the rest of the district and offers a lively gathering place.
The design of the Museum building creates an iconic presence and visual focal point in the area while emphasising a sense of openness. The facade is articulated by a series of folds, peeling away from the structure as it nears the ground to reveal the public plaza and creating moments of transparency that afford glimpses of the art inside. The facades fold away from the corner of the building, opening an entrance that ushers visitors towards the grand stairway up to the galleries.
Inside, the Museum is split into two wings – one displaying Chinese art, the other exhibitions of contemporary design – that interlock around a central staircase. Ascending through the Museum, the folding facades open up views over Art Town, enhancing the sense of connection between the Museum and the surrounding district.