Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

    Photo Credit: Keron Ip

Suzhou Museum

Suzhou, China

Design 2002 - 2004

Construction 2003 - 2006

I.M.Pei Architect, Pei Partnership Architects LLP (Site Architect-Bing Lin)

The new Suzhou Museum is located in the northeast area of the famous ancient canal city of Suzhou in Jiangsu province, China. It is adjacent to Zhong Wang Fu, the nationally registered landmark and the UNESCO World Heritage designated Humble Administrator’s Garden of the Ming Dynasty. The project site area is 10,700 square meters and the building area is 17,000 square meters. The design of the new Museum began in 2002, with the construction completing and building opening to the public in October, 2006.

The design finds inspirations from the classical buildings of Suzhou with white stucco walls and grey tiled roofs, and from the classical gardens of Suzhou for which the city became famous. While respecting the historical context of the past, the design illustrates a new interpretation of the classical architecture, meeting the challenging design requirements of being not only “Chinese and Suzhou, but also contemporary and forward reaching”. Immediately upon completion, the building has been recognized as an important and successful precedence in the delicate balance of modern building design in the historical Chinese context.

The new Suzhou Museum employs a simple building palette with white walls and stone tiled roofs. The black granite roof tiles are uniform and solid, and in harmony with the traditional tile roofs of Suzhou. The galleries are interconnected with a series of courtyards. The main garden of the museum is separated from the adjacent Humble Administrator’s Garden by a shared wall. The design of the main garden is simple and elegant, with a flowing pond, gazebo and a sliced stonescape as the centerpiece. The sliced rocks from Shandong province carefully arranged against the white courtyard wall form a three dimensional Chinese landscape painting.

Suzhou has a splendid cultural tradition with art crafts and paintings of Ming and Qing Dynasties. The exhibition spaces and design is carefully scaled to be appropriate for its displayed contents. The Museum also has a Contemporary Gallery, Temporary Gallery, Multi-function Room, VIP Reception Room, café, etc. It is a modern museum with state of the art facilities. Since its opening, the new Suzhou Museum has become a new landmark of Suzhou City, designated as a top ranking Class A museum of China. It is becoming a window and platform for cultural exchange and development with the rest of the world.