Hangzhou, China, a city of 8 million people, is home to the Zhejiang University which is considered a top-tier institution in the Chinese academic system. The university is doubling the size of its existing campus, and this museum and academic building will be the first project built on the new west campus.
The 250,000 sf project is split into to intertwined programs - the museum which will house Chinese art and archaeological pieces, and also an academic program in museum studies - the first of its kind for a Chinese university. The two programs are entered on opposite sides of a three bar scheme with the connection of the programs happening in the central bar which houses a shared auditorium and conservation studios. The museum contains permanent and changing exhibitions, education for the public, retail shopping, cafe, art storage and conservation. The academic building is comprised of classrooms, library, reading room, , rare book storage, study centers, and faculty offices.
Architecturally, the building is clad in a custom pre-cast concrete facade that uses a simple overlapping coursing to create patterns of varying depth and color that in turn create a super-scaled patch-work graphic over the expansive facade. The exterior cladding moves to the interior where is defines programmatic volumes which are stitched together with natural light and garden spaces that ultimately lead one through a series of exhibition and academic spaces.