An arts and culture cluster set to be envy of the world

Pudong's grand scheme to create an arts and culture cluster along the east bank of the Huangpu River and Century Park is going to become a reality.

Pudong's grand scheme to create an arts and culture cluster along the east bank of the Huangpu River and Century Park began to become a reality when construction work started on a number of facilities in the area.

Pudong Art Museum

Ti Gong

An artist's rendition of Pudong Art Museum (shown in white), to be sited between the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Shanghai International Convention Center

Construction kicked off late last month on a four-story art museum in the core area of Lujiazui.

The Riverside Pudong Art Museum will be 30 meters tall and cover an area of 13,000 square meters. The eye-catching building will rise from the ground between the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Shanghai International Convention Center by the end of 2020.

As a masterpiece of French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum will have a white granite facade. A "raindrops" pattern will be carved on the front of the building to symbolize "traditional Chinese culture is a gift from heaven like the timely rain," according to Lujiazui Properties, who are overseeing the project.

Two large glass curtain walls, six meters wide and 12 meters tall, will be installed on the west side of the museum to enable inner exhibitions to be visible from the Bund, on the opposite side of the river.

By making use of image projection and reflection, the two glass walls will be turned into "one of the world's finest art installations."

The museum will house exhibitions on traditional and contemporary art and invest in education, research, cultural exchanges, as well as tourism, according to the Pudong government.

Compared with its size, Pudong has long complained about a lack of art and cultural venues, particularly in the Lujiazui area. At present, the major art venue in the Pudong New Area is China Art Museum, which stands on the former World Expo 2010 site.

 East branch of Shanghai  Museum

Ti Gong

An artist's rendition of the east branch of Shanghai Museum to be built in Pudong

Apart from the museum, the Shanghai government plans to establish more cultural facilities in the new area by the end of the year, which includes the east branch of Shanghai Museum. Once completed, it will become another cultural icon of the new area. Complementing the Shanghai Museum in People's Square, the spacious east branch will offer a new opportunity for the museum and locals to forge a closer link with the ancient Chinese exhibits.

The new building will open in 2020 in Pudong's Lianyang, with Yanggao Road S. to the west, Century Avenue to the north and Dingxiang Road to the east.

It will cover 105,000 square meters — more than twice the size of the main site in Puxi — with six stories above ground and a two-floor basement.

Young designer Professor Li Li from Tongji University created an open design and the Tongji Architectural Design Co Ltd balanced the design with other cultural buildings in the neighborhood.

The new building will feature a simple and elegant rectangular form. Its marble surface will symbolize the waves in the ocean, as Shanghai is a meeting point of land and sea and seen as a pioneer moving forward into the future. It will have open balconies, terraces and gardens and streamline appearance.

The open spaces will also offer an enchanting view of Lujiazui Financial City.

The Shanghai Museum, which opened in 1996, is home to more than 140,000 precious artifacts, featuring bronzes, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy.

It has been hailed as one of the best museums in ancient Chinese art, both at home and abroad. With the extra space, the new museum will significantly increase the rotation frequency of the museum's collections.

It will focus on the cultural storylines in Chinese art rather than stick to the traditional exhibition system of dividing exhibits by categories. The Pudong building will hold themed exhibitions, reflecting the depth of Chinese art, and let the antiques tell their stories.

Another key function of the Pudong branch of the museum is to explore the educational, research and social communication functions of the museum.

It will be an open platform for exhibiting artifacts, cultural education and ancient cultural research, as well as a public space to enjoy art.

Visitors to this new cultural landmark can learn from multi-styled events. It is expected to play a key role in delivering cultural services to the public.

Getting visitors, especially youngsters, interested in culture and becoming more active in the museum's events is another mission of the east branch.

It will work on many new measures to improve the experience of museum tours, such as open displays of the repairing of cultural relics, an "open warehouse" of exhibits and special exhibitions of national treasures.

An interactive space for youngsters will also be opened in the east branch, along with educational spaces, reading rooms and a cinema. The spacious area will offer more affiliated functions than the current Shanghai Museum.

Citizens and tourists can spend leisure time at its planned art bookstore, a themed café and gift store.

East branch of Shanghai Library

Ti Gong

An artist's rendition of the east branch of Shanghai Library. It will be "an epoch-making public library."

Not too far away is the site of the future east branch of Shanghai Library. Sitting between Shanghai Science and Technology Museum and Century Park, the Pudong branch is expected to be people-oriented, environmentally friendly, interconnected, inclusive, intelligent and innovative, which is what a future library should look like.

The east arm of the second largest library in China will open to the public at the end of 2020.

Fifteen architectural companies from home and abroad put bids in to design the library, with Denmark's Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects winning out with its open, friendly and simple design.

Located on a large piece of green land, covering a construction area of 115,000 square meters, the building will look like "a singular monolithic object floating above the tree canopy, or a well carved jade in a forest."

The facade of the library will comprise clear, insulated glass and have seven floors above ground and two beneath. The new library will serve as a public space for reading and lending books — and as a community to connect users with knowledge, experiences and innovation.

The east branch will have around 6,000 seats and serve 4 million visitors. There will be around 4.8 million books on the open shelves.

There will be dedicated pavilions for children, disabled people and senior citizens as well as themed pavilions, such as choreography, genealogy, arts, music and frontier technology for visitors to read, watch performances and attend interactive and experience activities.

For innovators, there will be advanced technologies and equipment in the frontier science pavilion and the innovation space.

Research fellows may apply for separate research and discussion areas. A think-tank service will be available for researchers, business starters and decision-makers.

There will be areas open to reading clubs for promoting public reading.

Robots will be introduced to guide visitors and help library staff with book management.

After its completion, it will join the east branch of the Shanghai Museum to form part of a cultural assembly of facilities in the area, such as the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, the Oriental Arts Center and Pudong Expo.

Expo Culture Park

Elsewhere in Pudong, a 2-square-kilometer Expo Culture Park is planned. The strip-shaped riverside park will be free to the public. It will cover an area from the Lupu Bridge to Longbing Road in Pudong — right opposite to the West Bund in Xuhui District.

The Expo Culture Park, covering 1.88 square kilometers along the Huangpu River, is designed to become "an ecological natural forest park incorporating new cultural landmarks," such as an opera house and a world-class conservatory garden at the former World Expo 2010 site, the city's top planning body said.

It can be reached by Metro Line 13 (Shibo Avenue Station) and Line 7 (Houtan Station), according to the Shanghai Planning and Land Resource Administration.

The World Expo 2010 pavilions of France, Russia, Italy and Luxemburg will be preserved inside the park as part of the city's Expo memory.

The Italy and Luxemburg pavilions are now the Italy Center that holds exhibits of Italian arts and culture. The pavilions of the other countries that stretched over 6,000 square meters have closed down after the Expo.

The planned Shanghai Grand Opera House in the park will take up 79,300 square meters, while the conservatory garden will occupy up to 30,000 square meters. Outdoor forest and grassland theaters will be built around the opera house to create an iconic cultural site along the river.

Other landmarks in the park include "twin hills," one of which will be built with recycled construction wastes and garbage at a former industrial site. The conservatory will be built on a hill and will showcase the plants and vegetation that exist in the frozen, hot and desert climates.

There will also be a "colorful" forest of 18,000 arbor trees of various species. The forest, including 750 existing trees, will show different seasonal colors on the leaves. Among them, trees with yellow and red leaves will take up an area of 76,000 square meters. It is designed to become the best sightseeing spot during spring and autumn.

Waterways and wetlands will create a water recycling system along with a "rainwater garden" and "ecological ponds." Rains and flood water will be accumulated and purified with water plants and soils, according to the government.

The park is also part of the city government's Sponge City Blueprint, which aims to store rainwater with water-penetrating pavements, green rooftops and wetlands.

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