The blueprint of a conceptual design for the new museum of Suzhou, a picturesque city in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, has recently been completed by Ieoh Ming Pei, an international master architect.
The conceptual design for the museum, boasting a modern version of traditional Suzhou architecture, blends the design of the Residence of Prince Zhong of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and the Humble Administer's Garden (Zhuozheng Garden) into one, with a style reflecting architecture south of the Yangtze River.
Ieoh Ming Pei signed the contract to design the new Suzhou Museum on April 30 last year. After ten months' meticulous designing and improving, the conceptual design of the museum was recently completed.
According to the design, the new museum of Suzhou will cover more than 10,000 square meters with architectural acreage up to 6,710 square meters. The whole complex will not surpass 17 meters in height. The new museum will have two stories on the ground and one underground with a painting and calligraphy hall, hall to hold valuables from “two towers” of Suzhou (Huqiu Tower and Ruiguang Tower), Ming and Qing dynasties art hall, Wu Culture Hall and temporary exhibition hall to be designed. In addition, there will be a bookstore, film and television hall, multi-functional hall, and underground storehouse of about 1,000 square meters.
Major constructions around the museum district are one-storied structures with sloping roofs. Far from the Residence of Prince Zhong where the old Suzhou Museum is located are a big hall and an exhibition hall, two-stories in height. The architectural complex design seems to jump abruptly from high to low spaces, while appearing scattered but properly spaced, blending harmoniously with the surrounding context. The sloping roofs, composed of geometric figures, carry forward a tradition of the sloping roof from ancient Suzhou architecture; while light steel frame structures, concrete walls, and glass ceilings can been seen everywhere reflecting the architectural style of Mr. Pei.
The design of the new museum of Suzhou is now in its initial phase concerning architectural configuration, plane layout, and water, and electricity installation design.
(China.org.cn translated by Zhang Tingting, May 14, 2003)