Suzhou Science & Technology Museum will highlight new cultural district in Shishan Park

The 600,000-sf museum will be about 62 miles northwest of Shanghai.

January 11, 2018 |
The path along the top of the Suzhou Science & Technology Museum

Rendering courtesy of Perkins+Will

Shan shui is a Chinese expression that, roughly translated, means the union of mountain and lake. It is this phrase that proved to be the inspiration for the new Suzhou Science & Technology Museum designed by Perkins+Will.

The museum will become the new centerpiece of a new cultural district in Shishan Park, located about 62 miles northwest of Shanghai. The museum sits at the foot of Lion Mountain and next to Shishan Lake (hence the shan shui inspiration) and will encompass 600,000 sf of space. Included in this space is a 66,700-sf industrial exhibition hall, where exhibits will highlight the role of industrial development.


Aerial view of the new Suzhou museum from Perkins+WIllRendering courtesy of Perkins+Will.


The ribbon-like form of the museum emerges from the base of Lion Mountain and twists upward before it turns back on itself to cantilever out over the edge of Shishan Lake. Several man-made, teardrop-shaped, planted Eco Islands will stipple the lake. These islands will act as a filtration system and be connected by a walkway to the museum.

Visitors can arrive at the museum from several approaches. Those arriving by subway will be guided into the museum along a shallow ramp to the circular promenade that surrounds the park. Those coming by car or bus will enter through a formal plaza with reflecting pools and gathering spaces dubbed the “Discovery Court.”


Lakefront path at the Suzhou MuseumRendering courtesy of Perkins+Will.


Once visitors enter the museum, via whichever approach they desire, they will be greeted by a three-story atrium adjacent to a sunken water-filled courtyard that includes several small planted islands meant to reflect the Eco Islands in Shishan Lake.

Each level within the museum has access to natural daylight. The museum’s third level comprises “Lion Mountain Terrace,” which stretches out over the Eco Islands and frames Lion Mountain in the distance. This isn’t the only way the museum highlights sustainability and the environment, though.

A “Life-Giving Forest” outside the museum provides an air filtration buffer to the city and a unique place for outdoor exhibits. Public pedestrian walkways where the museum meets the lake wind through the Eco Islands and the wetlands with signage that guide guests to explore water purification, storm water management, and sustainable living.


The Suzhou Museum as viewed from the waterRendering courtesy of Perkins+Will.


A 3D metal mesh skin transitions from opaque to transparent to control daylight and solar gain and permeable paving systems and bioswales allow rain water to percolate directly into the ground of be directed toward the planted vegetation to be filtered naturally. Additionally, the construction of wetlands and Eco Islands will improve the water quality of Shishan Lake and make it a healthier habitat for wildlife and visitors.


An outdoor terrace in the interior of the Suzhou museumRendering courtesy of Perkins+Will.


“Our design recognizes the importance of Suzhou in China’s commercial history, and underscores its role at the forefront of China’s emergence as a technology leader and innovator,” says Ralph Johnson, Global Design Director of Perkins+Will.

Perkins+Will previous design work in China includes the Shanghai Natural History Museum, which opened in 2015.


View of an interior courtyard and exhibit space at the new Suzhou museumRendering courtesy of Perkins+Will.


Aerial view of the museum at night with the city in the backgroundRendering courtesy of Perkins+Will.

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