China, Changzhou 

Changzhou Culture Center


Competition 2012 – 1st prize
Design Meinhard von Gerkan and Nikolaus Goetze with Magdalene Weiss
Chinese Partner Wei Wu
Competition Team Martin Friedrich, Sebastian Schmidt, Kong Bu Hong, Jiang Lan Lan, Yao Yao, Zhang Zhen, Gao Shu San, Dominika Gnatowicz, Sa Xiaodong
Structural Design schlaich bergermann and partners
Landscape Design WES & Partners
Client Changzhou Jinling Investment and Construction Co., Ltd
Gross Floor Area 365,000 m²
GFA Library 32,800 m²
GFA Art Gallery 20,600 m²
GFA Science and Technology Museum 18,300 m²
GFA Service Facilities 37,300 m²
GFA basement floors 256,000 m²



Crystal Digital Technology

The architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) have been awarded first prize according to the jury in an international competition to build the Culture Center in the newly created Changzhou city center - competing with KSP – Jürgen Engel Architects, Arata Isozaki and other leading practices. With a total floor area of 365,000 square meters, the new building complex includes a number of museums such as an arts museum, a science and technology museum and a library, together with service facilities supporting the center for culture in the Xinbei district of the city of three million, between Wuxi and Nanjing.

The design reflects elements of Changzhou’s southern Chinese culture and the city’s prominent water features. The building modules – which cantilever bridge-like in a large arc - consist of six 45 meter-high pavilions which vary significantly inside with their different architectural functions, but form a visual whole from the outside. The space between the art gallery to the east and the science and technology museum to the west forms the public plaza in the center of Changzhou. With its water features and generous landscaping, it provides an inviting ambiance and serves as a meeting point in the district.

On the 256,000 square meter basement floor are an underground car park as well as numerous shop and retail areas which are lit by lightwells and which are directly connected with the cultural facilities.
A water course on the higher level running diagonally through the 17 hectare site links all the modules together and acts as a source of lighting for the restaurants in the basement.

With its material and colour, the façade picks up on the regional building tradition: staggered grey slate creates a solid external impression which is contrasted by the bright surfaces with white elements and transparent glass
façades on the inside of the buildings.

The Culture Center will play an important role in shaping the new city center and its development, and it reflects Changzhou’s tradition carried over into the modern metropolis. The large roof spreads across the six culture pavilions and is used to define the public space for Changzhou’s citizens.