The Qingxi Culture and History Museum in Sangzhou by architect Wu Zhenling reflects its natural environment of terraced fields with a dissolved volume, modest idiom and a vernacular form.

Ningbo, China

Located in Yunanshangang, Sangzhou Town, Ninghai County, Zhejiang, the Qingxi Culture and History Museum in Sangzhou by Wu Zhenling and his design team from The Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University Co., Ltd. (UAD) is located as a small cultural area and tourism building that has a visitor center, an exhibition space and an experience center for the culture and history of Sangzhou Town.

The Qingxi Culture and History Museum has recently been awarded a 2022 International Architecture Awards Honorable Mention by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

The base is far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, with only one country road connecting the nearby villages with local villagers working in the fields every now and then.

Due to the significant height difference, the sunken platform rises from north to south with wide views towards the north side, and the project has beautiful terraces on the east and west sides and views of mountains in the distance.

The base is built on a beautiful terraced field, close to mountains and rivers.

Based on the overall natural environment, the external space of the building is integrated with nature and surroundings in its design language.

Its silhouette takes cues from the original terraced fields, making the building blend in with the environment.

The roof is designed to be covered with crops, just like the terraced fields nearby.

The interior spatial design is consistent with the exterior form.

Irregular walls and staggered roofs make each room unique and delicate, like different paths in the landscape.

Natural light is introduced through tall windows or skylights into the walls and ground, creating an enjoyable view full of change.

Experienced stone masons in the city were employed to select natural stone and construct the building, which strove to present the most original features of terraced fields.

Simple techniques and methods mean that the entire building can be in harmony with the natural environment both in texture and appearance up close.

Detailed components are also carefully created by craftsmen, such as stone window frames and drips.

Materials for the indoor spaces, including the luminous concrete roof, the white diatom mud wall, and the wood-colored doors and windows, are adopted to reflect the primitive feelings of the landscape.

Located in a corner of the valley, the rustic building “dissolves” and blends naturally with the mountains and rivers that have a history of thousands of years.

Environment functions as a composite unit that integrates natural and artificial spaces with different functions.

Therefore, as a significant building in such a context, it embodies not only the style and appearance, but also a practical expression of the long-standing social, cultural and technological environmental systems and the best recognition of nature and hometown.

The architecture has a “dissolved” volume and delicate spaces through appropriate craftsmanship.

The finished building repeats all elements of the surroundings, from the terraced field, stream, to bridge and track.

As a magical structure that can show unexpected surprises, the designers aimed to create a small cultural base that reflects rustic features and regional characteristics in a modest idiom and vernacular form.

Project: Qingxi Culture and History Museum in Sangzhou
Architects: The Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University Co., Ltd. (UAD)
Chief architect: Wu Zhenling
Design team: Zhang Jiachen, Li Ning, Wang Yingni and Chen Yu
Main contractor: Ningbo Donghong Ecological Construction Co., Ltd.
Client: Ninghai County Culture Tourism Group Co. Ltd.
Photographer: Zhao Qiang

IAA23

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