Nautilius-shaped museum opens in bustling Shanghai

February 16, 2017

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!

At almost 500,000 square-feet, there are plenty of places for you to explore the natural world.

Image courtesy of: Design Museum

This central wall mimics the cell structure of plants and animals. Doing double-duty, the light which filters in through the panes brightens the entire atrium 30-foot atrium.

Image courtesy of: Design Museum

The lobby is representative of the interior's elegant beauty. Set within the Jing'an District, the museum is centrally located and close to the famous Jing'an Sculpture Park.

Image courtesy of: Archilovers, photographed by: James and Connor Steinkamp

It would be difficult to call this enormous building completely sustainable; but, it does boast some major "green" features. Kudos to that!

Image courtesy of: New Atlas, photographed by: James and Connor Steinkamp

Posted in: Architecture
Tagged: MUSEUM SHANGHAI PERKINS + WILL