Establishing a modern-day cultural landmark in an area of an ancient city packed with traditional small-scale dwellings takes a particularly sensitive execution — and it’s one that Hangzhou firm UAD(ACRC) has pulled off with aplomb with the Xu Wei Art Museum and Green Vine Square. Located in centuries-old Shaoxing, in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang, the new community art space is an integral component of an overall urban renewal plan to foster a greater sense of belonging for locals, as well as to entice regional and global businesses to set down roots.
Expertly reflecting the surrounding architecture, the three volumes that make up the museum — exhibition galleries to the left and right with a central transparent “transfer hub” — are each topped with “herringbone slope” black metal roofs that feel as though they were drawn with the graceful strokes of a traditional Xuan paintbrush. It’s a somewhat lyrical touch that nods to the site’s former resident: the Ming dynasty artist, poet and dramatist Xu Wei, considered the OG of modern painting in China. Outside, textured facades in white and grey granite and additional black metal further weave the structure into the fabric of the neighbourhood.
This connection is again strengthened by an external courtyard to the south, known as Green Vine Square (Green Vine was one of Xu Wei’s nicknames). To translate the geometry of the roof to the hardscaping, the two ends of the pavilion have been lifted to create bookending slopes. Paved in dark grey stone, the gentle ramps are home to a flowing water feature (on the west) and shallow amphitheatre seating (on the east), and together create an inviting place for the community and visitors to gather. It’s a triumphant example of how thoughtfulness and consideration for the past can build a civic centrepiece for the future.
Team Huifeng Hu with Lanlan Jiang, Chenfan Zhang, Lifan Han, Jinyun Zhu and Pengfei Li
The Xu Wei Art Museum and Green Vine Square by UAD(ACRC) demonstrates a commitment to its context through design.