Recently opened, the new Shanghai Natural History Museum is an architectural feat. Perkins + Will spent 9 years on perfecting the design, development and construction after winning an international design competition. Drawing upon traditional Chinese cultural references was important; thus, the building beautifully represents the harmony between humans and nature. Taking inspiration from the ancient Chinese tradition of mountain water gardens, China's natural landscape was stunningly "minimized".
The circular design allows for easy movement within, and the interior organization is made easier by the nautilus shell design which, in nature, is one of the truest geometric forms... perfect for a natural history museum.
More than 10,000 artifacts (representing all seven continents) are displayed in the bright, light-filled building. The 30-meter atrium is welcoming and the adjacent glass wall mimics the cell-structure of both plants and animals.
And finally, the design is environmentally friendly... the building is bioclimatic by maximizing the sun's output for solar power; nearby, the courtyard pond provides evaporative cooling. The interior temperature is regulated via geothermal and rain water is collected from the vegetated roof, stored in the oval pond and recycled.
Perhaps most importantly, with an additional 20 exhibition spaces, this space won't soon get outgrown!