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The Grand Canal Museum will tell the story of the world’s longest canal

Herzog & de Meuron designed the project.

January 08, 2020 |
Grand Canal Museum

All renderings courtesy Herzog & de Meuron

Located in Hangzhou at the junction of the Grand Canal and the Hanggang River, the Grand Canal Museum will reflect the Canal’s importance in Chinese cultural and natural landscapes and create a contemporary gathering place.

Surrounded by water on three sides, the Museum will tell the story of the Grand Canal: its construction, its role in the agriculture of China’s eastern plain, and its cultural radiance today. The museum exhibition area comprises 50,000 sm and is organized on two identical floors that can operate independently. The museum space is elevated 12 meters above the ground to provide extra covered and shaded public space. A grand ballroom and a banquet room are located under the elevated museum. The museum’s facade consists of large, concave cast glass elements meant to resemble the sparkle of rippling water. 


Grand Canal Green roof


Behind the museum a large mountain-shaped conference center-hotel complex connects to the city thanks to its proximity to the main road. A contiguous vertical space connects the three key programs of the building: the conference center on the lower floors, the museum lobby in the middle, and the restaurants and hotel on the top. The facade of the “Mountain” is mineral and solid, meant to juxtapose the glass of the museum and embody the classic Chinese ideal of “water in the front, mountain in the back.”


See Also: China’s Wuxi Taihu Show Theater is inspired by the country’s largest bamboo forest


Grand Canal Museum illuminated at night


The project’s site is fully landscaped and includes a park-like urban plaza and a green roof atop the museum that is fully integrated into a storm water management system. The Grand Canal Museum is expected to begin construction in 2020 with a completion date in late 2023.


Grand Canal interior exhibition space

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