Liangzhu Culture Museum by
David Chipperfield Architects



David Chipperfield Architects have completed the Liangzhu Culture Museum at Hangzhou, China.


The museum, which will house a collection of archaeological findings from the Liangzhu period, is part of a new garden town called Liangzhu Cultural Village.


The museum is composed of four parallel bar-shaped volumes, clad in Iranian travertine.


The following is from David Chipperfield Architects:


Liangzhu Culture Museum
Hangzhou, China
2003 – 2008

The museum houses a collection of archaeological findings from the Liangzhu culture, also known as the Jade culture (c3000 BC). It forms the northern point of the ‘Liangzhu Cultural Village’, a newly created park town near Hangzhou.


The building is set on a lake and connected via bridges to the park. The sculptural quality of the building ensemble reveals itself gradually as the visitor approaches the museum through the park landscape.


The museum is composed of four bar-formed volumes made of Iranian travertine stone, equal in 18m width but differing in height.


Each volume contains an interior courtyard.


These landscaped spaces serve as a link between the exhibition halls and invite the visitor to linger and relax.


Despite the linearity of the exhibition halls, they enable a variety of individual tour routes through the museum.


To the south of the museum is an island with an exhibition area, linked to the main museum building via a bridge.


The edge areas of the surrounding landscape, planted with dense woods, allow only a few directed views into the park.


The entrance hall can be reached via a courtyard, the centrepiece of which is a reception desk of Ipe wood, lit from above.


The material concept consists of solid materials that age well, Ipe wood and travertine stone, and extends to all public areas of the museum.


Client: Zhejiang Vanke Narada Real Estate Group Co., Ltd.
Project Date: 2003
Completion: June 2007
Opening: October 2008
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Principal: David Chipperfield
Director: Mark Randel
Project Architect: Annette Flohrschütz
Project Team: Libin Chen, Marcus Mathias, Christof Piaskowski, Arndt Weiss, Liping Xu
Gross floor area: 9.500 m²
Landscape Design: Levin Monsigny Landschaftsarchitekten
Exhibition designer: Guangdong Jimei Design and Engineering Co.
Graphics: Ute Zscharnt in collaboration with SV Associates, Andrew Mark Lawrence, Nancy Chen Si Min
Local Architect: ZTUDI The Architectural Design and Research Institute Zhejiang
University of Technology
Photographs: Christian Richters








Posted on Wednesday November 5th 2008 at 4:10 pm by Matylda Krzykowski. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • HouseCat

    So little “culture” for a culture museum.

  • rodger

    lovely restrained modernism at its best… though earring on the side of bland.
    nice choice of stone.

  • One

    Is modernism a minimalism and Fash(0n)ism and culture…?

  • Alexander

    Too bad there are no people there.

  • muy del estilo de campos baeza

  • mr. me

    Minimalism has become a meaningless kind of architecture.

  • Alejandro

    isn’t that the point of minimalism

  • it totally reminds to the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and the Berardo Museum in Lisbon
    Please stop this architecture!!!! soon or later every new build in the world will look in the same way!!!

  • ’emCookies

    It helps to know what it means if you picture a completely different type of building next to it. This building says “enduring, respectful, quiet, polite, solid.” It is a kind of backdrop for things as a museum, so that makes sense. The interior courtyards are quite nice. The other photographs of the exterior are like of post-disastrous flooding news photos — look how high the water was! Gasp.

  • iamreply

    yes yes. this makes sense. i like!

  • fischer

    “Liangzhu” is very famous story in China,But we haven’t see any culture in this could be any place….

  • Tyler

    It incorporates so much that I hate about modernism, but some of these photos are so beautiful, I can’t help but be captivated by it.

  • yauhollye

    Looks like a very rich & delightful spatial experience. Great to see that the Chinese are willing to embrace an architecture of true substance….at last

  • Indra Lim

    I thought it’s somewhere in europe………

  • Matt

    True, cookies, a nice polite solid backdrop to museum pieces. I like the seating around the courtyards. Reminds me a little of the vast spaces that you move through when walking through the forbidden city

  • Why landscape round the edges with weird, limp grass? It rather detracts from some nice forms.

  • Indra and Fischer are totally right.
    It could be everywhere, where is the link with the place it is built in?
    Modern Architecture is like Zara or H&M, the “casual” wins, and everything else disappears…

  • Nigel Yang

    I would like to say wow, although this might seem common to most people. Considering the situation here in China, even somewhere as open as Shanghai, Peking or Hangzhou, it is still not easy to persuade people to accept modernism.

    In my point of view, this one is just an exception in China, and i’m afraid, still it is not the final appearance of the museum, as someone has already mentioned above, there needs to be contents, objects, exhibitions, signposts, administrators, visitors, etc. All these may mean trouble to the building, cuz the contents are not designed as a whole thing. The landscape looks a bit weird, unfitted with the building, and the architect would say he doesn’t have the right to administrate the greens in the project. This is the fact here, architecture is broken into pieces. What a pity.

    Still, I would like to say, nice project.

  • hendrix

    it looked better in the renderings… but anyway, still nice.

  • Guan

    Maybe it is polite, but not welcoming.
    I can’t see any design response to the Liangzhu Culture and local climate of Hangzhou.
    It is just simply another minimalism product by Chipperfield, as those buildings in Europe.

  • LOW

    Chipperfield is wicked cool

  • sc hu yl er

    Not particularly daring, but pretty tasteful. Not all these perspectives are very flattering though.

  • *MIRTEC*

    typical for chinese culture ;-)

  • El Greco

    Refreshingly restrained.

    True, there are no hanging red lanterns to indicate “CHINA”, but the lake, the bridge and the courtyard all reference Chinese architecture without being irritatingly ironic in a Post-Modern way.

  • Farris

    Who knew Chipperfield was doing Meier?!?!

  • niels

    very monumental, heavy, ever enduring, a sort of new-built ruin. It reminds me of Louis Kahn’s work in a way. I think there’s a lot of cultural references in the work, they’re just not literally which only makes it better for me.

  • Fling


  • Jim

    Edoardo, I’m 100% with you.

  • yung

    Just adding some Chinese on the walls will do…

  • Sumit Kumath

    cuboid structure

  • Ben

    extremely beautiful and very nice detailing …

  • Very good architecture

  • hernindya

    feel so could be placed anywhere in the china scents/ aura smells here.why the clad comes from iran?un-contextual piece of work.

  • amron

    what ever happened to this project!!!!

  • fish

    just visit the museum. maintenance is bad. parts of the travertine cladding were patched up using portland cement.

  • Sophia Zhang

    If you ever go there, you will find the minimalism means a lot. The lake, the courtyard, the light and shadow, plants; Circles and rectangles have its own meaning. They look like representing something, but if you try to find what that is, you will only get a silent answer from long time ago. As a Chinese, I have to say it is a really good museum.