Located in an old factory, the museum combines the existing structure with contemporary elements. An elevated path connects the buildings and a visit to the museum culminates with impressive views from a new roof terrace from which undulating landscape of Liuzhou, a city strongly transformed by industry, can be contemplated.
Building area: 62000 sqm
Location: Liuzhou, China
Client: Liuzhou Local Government
The city of Liuzhou is located in southern China, in a fertile valley on the banks of the river Liu. Its history has been influenced by continuous development. Historically, this development was linked to the exploitation of resources, mainly wood and cotton, while today is the driving force of the Guangxi province. The region has become a center of machinery production, metallurgy and the automobile and chemical industries.
After the economic boom of the area and the expansion of the city, the priority now is to carry out an urban regeneration process and to consolidate the old industrial areas as a legacy of the city’s history. The museum proposed by the local government, reflects this purpose and has been specifically designed to occupy one of the old factories located on the banks of the River.
This spot is strategic, not only for being close to one of the main arteries of the city, but also because the landscape surrounding the building has a high value to be protected along with the conversion of the old structure. The proposal for the industrial museum is based on an analysis of the existing buildings, the cataloguing of the elements to be preserved, and the preparation of a discourse, which is intended to incorporate an urban park in the occupied and unoccupied area of the plot.
The three main buildings will be transformed into the principal parts of the program: a permanent exhibition, a temporary exhibition and administrative and leisure adjoining services. This metamorphosis intends to maintain the factory’s identity, converting them into neutral volumes whose façade is composed by simple openings homogenized with a single material. In contrast to the sober treatment of the existing elements, new contemporary elements are added with an intrepid and unequivocal sense.
Steel angular shapes become a lightweight structure, unfolding and connecting different spaces, embracing the three volumes and providing a unifying image of the whole.
Several elevated walkways connect the buildings ending up on the roof with a special relevance, on the one hand is the culmination of the exhibition, becoming a multifunctional terrace from which contemplate the undulating landscape, and on the other hand its reverse shape allows a neutral light to come through the interior spaces.
The main volume, used for machinery in the old days, is drilled on the interior to house a central atrium around which visitors can move and view the showrooms. This high-rise space becomes the heart of the museum and is the reference point and the entry point, which articulates the internal pathway.
If the former industrial parcel was a confined space with limited access, the new museum opens to the city like a green lung. Landscape elements are used to mark the trace of the missing buildings and the zones in between the new volumes contain urban squares.
It is intended that the museum, far from being a mere collection of pieces on display, will be understood as an element to be explored in relation to the landscape. The extraordinary sight of Liuzhou, the winding river between rolling hills and its buildings and infrastructures, which populate the valley, are a necessary dialogue to understand their history.