Ningbo style blends tradition and innovation

The architectural panorama of modern Ningbo is a combination of tradition and innovation as the city pays due respect to its long cultural heritage history.

The architectural panorama of modern Ningbo is a combination of tradition and innovation as the city pays due respect to its long cultural heritage history. It values a number of ancient buildings and more edgy designs of modern architects.

There are some famous modern structures in Ningbo, mainly designed by Wang Shu, the Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, and Ma Qingyun, dean of the Architecture School at University of Southern California. Their buildings, highlighted by Ningbo Museum and Tianyi Square, maintain traditional elements, such as gray bricks and tiles, but also employ modern styles such as glass surfaces and asymmetric shapes.

Ningbo Museum of Art

Ningbo Museum of Art, designed by Wang Shu, is a box-shaped two-story building on the Old Bund. The structure used to be a center for shipping services.

Completed in 2005, the museum covers an area of 15,800 square meters; its floor area includes 5,300 square meters of exhibition space and a 1,500-square-meter area for the restoration of art.

The building's flat roof is upheld by dozens of I-shaped steel columns on the four sides. The walls are built of large orange wooden planks.

Its gray-brick base includes several embedded cubic windows. A bridge, also paved with gray bricks, stretches across the pond in front to connect the exit of the building with the outside grassland.

Several interior open spaces, in both high and low areas, are connected by stairs.

The museum also features vast white walls and pillars.

Address: 122 Renmin Rd, Jiangbei District

Tel: (0574) 8764-3222

Ningbo Museum of Art

Ningbo Museum

Ningbo Museum, designed by Wang Shu in 2008, is a three-story asymmetric building covering 4 hectares.

The outer walls consist of gray bricks and tiles recovered from old buildings demolished in the city.

"I told them the criteria to judge a new design did not even exist before the structure was completed. So I was happy when locals visited the museum and noticed the old brickwork in the wall, saying it was the same as the bricks used in their old houses," elaborated Wang.

It also has a variety of irregularly shaped glass windows. A large area of shallow water flows around the museum and features reeds which turn yellow in autumn. The museum's central space is an atrium open from the first to the third floors.Stairs and corridors meander along the walls on each floor.

Odd-shaped doors lead into the exhibition areas, mainly on the second and third floors.

The open roof-top balcony has a glass dome and features greenery.

Address: 1000 Shounan Rd M., Yinzhou District

Tel: (0574) 8281-5588

Yu Zhongkui

Ningbo Museum

Tianyi Square

Tianyi Square in Ningbo's downtown was designed by Ma Qingyun. At 200,000 square meters, it is the city's biggest business area and features 22 flat-roof buildings. There is also a vast open area of 6,000 square meters with channels of flowing water.

Buildings close to the center are arranged in a circle around an open area of 35,000 square meters where activities are held. The view from here includes the vista in the south of an ornate catholic church jointly built by French immigrants and Ningbo local citizens in 1918.

Both the public areas and lanes inside the square are paved with stone tiles whose embedded bulbs light the way at night. The square's large water area imbues it with a sense of peace and elegance and these aspects in Ma's eyes are classic symbols of Ningbo as a coastal city in the Yangtze River Delta.

It is recommended to visit the square during weekends when the water fountains dance to the beat of music. There is also a water screen which at night allows people to watch movies in the open air.

Address: 188 Zhongshan Rd E., Haishu District

Tel: (0574) 8768-3088

Yu Rongqun

Tianyi Square

Ningbo City Exhibition

Ningbo City Exhibition is within easy walking distance from Ningbo Museum of Art on the Old Bund.

It was designed by modern architecture master, Ma Qingyun, who transformed it from an old warehouse for shipped goods into a modern structure featuring asymmetric shapes and glass surfaces.

The surface features various pieces of light-colored glass mosaics and white-pillared balconies set into recessed spaces.

Inside the exhibition hall, there are vast open spaces used to display artifacts, including papers and images, that illustrate Ningbo's 7,000-year history from the Neolithic Age.

Address: 195 Waima Rd, Jiangbei District

Tel: (0574) 8766-8586

Ningbo City Exhibition

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