Along The Bund, the waterfront area of the Huangpu River in central Shanghai, David Chipperfield Architects has launched the West Bund Museum: an arts precinct comprised of three interlaced volumes covered in translucent glass, that hosts the Centre Pompidou‘s first overseas outpost. The collaboration between the acclaimed Paris contemporary art museum and the new ‘West Bund Museum’ exists as part of a cultural partnership between France and China. The agreement will see artworks from the French museum on display for five years in the Chinese gallery. The museum sits on a triangular plot where the Huangpu River converges with a new public park, and is surrounded by a public boulevard with steps on one side that descend down to the river. “The ground floor is designed as a public thoroughfare, with a river-side cafe and bookstore—allowing visitors to connect between the urban life of the street and the views of the Huangpu River,” explains David Chipperfield’s partner, Libin Chen. “The wilful act of twisting the three main exhibition halls breaks the conventional geometry, and creates a powerful interstitial public space,” the firm continues.
The museum will house 27,000 square feet of exhibition space, inviting the public in through its two storey lobby with a towering double-height atrium, an area that contains a cafe, bookstore, art studio, and educational spaces. “The public facilities all contribute to the idea that modern museums are more than just a destination for viewing art,” Chen concludes. The multi-billion dollar art market in China is presently ranked as the third-largest globally; given that a key part of the project’s aim is to raise the prestigious Centre Pompidou’s profile outside of Europe, it’s little wonder that the collaboration exists for the public to enjoy.