Hangzhou 2016 – Kengo Kuma completed the Folk Art Museum in the campus of China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou. The project occupies over 11.200 square-metres of a former tea field that formed a hillside just off the Chinese metropolis on the Eastern coast, South of Shanghai.
The Japanese studio decided to develop the project as a traditional village. The museum spaces are fragmented into low rise single unit that step up the slope with grey tiled gabled roofs.
“Our point was to design a museum from which the ground below can be felt, by continuing the building’s floors that follow the ups and downs of the slope” say at Kengo Kuma & Associates. “Planning is based on geometric division in the units of parallelogram to deal with the intricate topography”.
The outer wall is covered with a screen of tiles hung up by stainless wires, and it controls the volume of sunlight coming into the rooms inside. “Old tiles for both the screen and the roof came from local houses”.
“Their sizes are all different, and that helps the architecture merge into the ground naturally” explained the studio. Inside stainless steel wire is strung across the glazed facades of the museum, resembling a fishnet while split-level galleries are connected by timber and stone-lined ramps.
Kengo Kuma’s China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum combines traditional techniques with recycled materials to create a subtle yet powerful structure. Selected for its careful treatment of the landscape, together with its materiality and structure, the project celebrates a duality in the Chinese culture of today: modern construction techniques versus tradition and handcraft.
All photos by Eiichi Kano, courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates.