After spending our morning in the Ningbo Historic Museum, we visited the Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum by Wang Shu 王澍 [Amateur Architecture Studio], the Waitan riverfront district and the Tianyi City Plaza. These last two large scale urban developments are designed by Ma Qingyun [MADA s.p.a.m.].
The Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum was built in 2005 and located at the former “Bund” in Ningbo. The first objective of the project was to preserve the existing structure on the site, so to protect it as a legacy of the 1980s architecture. But faced with the fact that the building had been seriously destroyed during past attempt for reconstruction, the architects decided to demolish the whole building, except a beacon tower. They explain the intention underlying design in the project description as following:
The final construction plan contains multiple design clues. Firstly it reduplicated the relationship between the port and the ship by a high platform and the building form. Two jetties are situated roughly at the place of the former air landing bridges. Secondly it reduplicated the relationship between the local traditional courtyard and the building. From the street the main access into the museum is through a higher platform. There’s no magnificent square or broad steps, which has become the most controversial part in the design. Nevertheless, the desire of the designer is to rebuild a Chinese ceremonial space.
After our meeting we explored a bit of Ningbo. On a foggy and rainy Sunday afternoon, our view on the city was limited as we walked from one MADA s.p.a.m.-project to another. Our first stop was the rehabilitation of the Waitan riverfront district of Ningbo, our second the Tianyi City Plaza in the heart of the city. Both projects deal with the issue of large-scale urban redevelopment, an issue Ma Qingyun (principal of MADA s.p.a.m.) explained in an interview in 2006 (Architect in China, published in Volume#8, Ubiquitous China, 2006) as following:
As we are designing these big master plans and urban projects, I use them as a reality check in which I trace certain ideas from a small project which in turn get bigger and bigger and find their way into a city-scheme.
In an upcoming post we will provide some more background and images to MADA s.p.a.m.‘s Tianyi City Plaza project.
Pictures by Mónica Carriço | movingcities.org