China, Shanghai-Pudong 

Museum, Shanghai-Pudong


Competition June 2002 – 1st Prize
Design Meinhard von Gerkan
Partner Nikolaus Goetze
Project managers Dirk Heller, Karen Schroeder
Design team Christoph Berle, Georg Traun, Friedhelm Chlosta, Kai Siebke, Meike Schmidt, Wencke Eissing-Poggenberg, Wei Wu, Holger Wermers, Birgit Föllmer, Hinrich Müller, Udo Meyer, Thomas Eberhardt
Chinese partner practice SIADR, Shanghai Institute of Architectural Design & Research Co., Ltd.
Client City of Shanghai, New District Pudong
Construction period 2003–2005
Gross area 41,000 m²
Volume 250,000 m³



Christian Gahl

The Museum in Shanghai-Pudong is one of the most important urban projects in this new district. Opposite the historically grown city centre of Shanghai a new "Manhattan" comes into being on the other side of the river: The district Shanghai-Pudong with the highest office- and hotel building at present in China.

The new Museum in Shanghai-Pudong is supposed to document and archive the district’s history and development comprehensively. At the same time modern, multifunctional and open exhibition spaces are developed to inform the public with a permanent exhibition and special exhibitions about the city’s history and development.

The base as one of the main architectural features of the museum lifts the main building with the exhibition halls above the level of the surrounding streets and emphasizes the central importance of the complex. Simplicity and reduction of the materials dominate the clear cube that is based on a square floor layout.

Three elements form the building complex: the square-shaped main building with central functions, a much broader, 4 metres high base with surrounding stairs, which accommodates the archives and a bar-shaped building on the eastern side for the administration.

The façade of the upper, closed part of the main building not only serves as weather protection but also as a communication surface. It is made of two parallel façade-layers. The outer layer consists of glass and the inner one of room-high closed wall panels. These elements can be rotated along their longitudinal axis and can be opened or closed, according to the particular requirements of the exhibition concept, so that views from the inside to the outside and vice versa are generated.

The outer façade serves as a medium between museum and public: the transparent glass skin displays the content of the archive in small patterned pictures, which form a big picture when seen from a distance. In some exposed spaces pictures, movies or texts will be projected onto semi-transparent glass by video projectors mounted in wall recesses.