Wanna find somewhere to wander, linger and explore in such a hustle and bustle city like Shenzhen? Then no place suits better than the Sea World Culture and Arts Center(SWCAC) within Sea World’s coastal city complex.
This is the Pritzker Prize winning architect Fumihiko Maki’s first building in China. Every aspect of the building was crafted to reflect its function as a premier public institution. With the folded aluminum roofs of the volumes creating a sharp profile that yields different shades depending on the angle of the sun, the dynamic building silhouette symbolizes an opening up to different horizons and SWCAC’s role to disseminate culture and information to Shenzhen and beyond, a large white ship in the harbor.
The podium, clad in white and green granite, acts as a sculptural base that houses the main museum and retail functions. It was then turned to the project site—one of the most spectacular in Shekou peninsula with panoramic views of Hong Kong over the waterway—as inspiration for the pavilion, expressing the building’s relationship with the three surrounding elements: city, park, and the sea.
Three cantilevered volumes resting on the podium house a theater, restaurant, and multi-purpose hall. Clad in metallic white aluminum panels, each volume protrudes in its respective direction, marked by symbolic facades. A double-skin with exterior louvers signifies the theater, allowing views of the city and mountain from the interior. The restaurant facade, occupying two floors, is punctuated by a V-shaped aluminum element, while the multi-purpose hall is glazed with highly transparent spider-point double skin overlooking the sea.
Here lies in Design Society, the first international design museum in China, co-launched by The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and China Merchants Shekou Holdings. It is also the largest international initiative the V&A has ever embarked on. All gallery spaces have been designed and fitted to the highest quality to accommodate many different exhibition possibilities. A minimal number of columns allows for maximum use of the exhibition space and free exhibition planning.
SWCAC’s public nature has also been enhanced by an integration with the surrounding park and waterfront, where visitors are free to walk around and explore.
A large “green plate” composed of a series of folded grass planes, gradually leads visitors from the city to the waterfront, shaded with groups of trees. Two grand stairs at each end of the podium connect the city and Shekou bay bypassing the roof garden, inviting visitors to enjoy views over the ocean and surrounding landscape, creating a serene refuge from the surrounding traffic.
Now you see, here at SWCAC, people stroll in straight lines, follow the many curves and stairs, walk through or even over the building, to enjoy quiet dialogues with space and nature.