National Maritime Museum of China
The design comprises five hall structures radiating out to the port harbor and converging in a central ‘Preface Hall’. Functionally, the idea is to bring all visitors up a rampart to an elevated level and access from there either of two split levels which occupy each hall. This strategy enabled the collections and operational center of the museum to be located immediately under the Preface Hall with direct lower level access into each hall.
The halls are sequentially from west to east a Hall of Nature and Oceans, World Maritime Civilisation Hall, Chinese Marine Culture Hall and Historic Vessel Hall. A Temporary Exhibition Hall projects forward of these and a fifth hall to the west accommodates public education, business, research and curatorial facilities. The museum is fronted by a ‘maritime plaza’ where maritime re-enactments and other open air events are intended to actively engage the museum with the city. It is marked by an observation tower also acting as the museum’s energy plant.
The architecture is expressive of multiple interpretations (such as an open hand, anemone, corals, vessels in port), not as obvious metaphors, but as enticements for visitation and exploration of a multifaceted set of experiences within.
This project won the international competition to design China’s new National Maritime Museum to be located in the port city of Tianjin close to Beijing. The competition was held over 6 months in three stages, each unusually providing jury feedback to those competitors selected to progress.
Architects: Cox Architecture
Location: Tianjin, China
Cox Team: Philip Cox AO, Jayson Blight, Michael Rayner AM, Hang Ling, Alex Leese, Ashley Beckett, Michael Bailey, Robert Callanan, Anya Meng, Lei Li, Jack Dodgson, Troy Rafton, Leon McBride, Julian Farrell, Belinda Williamson, Megan MacKenzie
Client: Chinese Government and Tianjin Municipality
Project Status: In Progress, 2013-Current
Key Consultants: Tianjin Architecture and Design Institute, Arup
Gross Floor Area: 80,000m2
Type: Cultural Center, Museum