Following-up the 2010 Shanghai Expo, the Power Station of Art is a renovation and expansion project based on the Pavilion of Future which previously was the Nanshi power station built in 1985. Nowadays, the building has become a well-functioning and artistic public platform.
The project ceases the station’s magnificent industrial mission in a historically narrative way. The design process lasting for six years has witnessed the building’s transformation from a giant electric machine to a powerful engine promoting culture and art. The accomplishment of this project would greatly change the inherent structure of Shanghai’s art field and even China’s. The Power station of Art (for contemporary art), China Art Palace (for modern traditional art), and Shanghai Museum (for ancient art) will complement each other and create a more integral structure in exhibition field for Shanghai. Through a controlled intervention, the project aims to keep the building’s existing spatial order as well as industrial characteristics. It also attempts to show the temporal span by placing the new and the old together. It shows hospitable attitude to the city and it also blurs the boundary of leisure space and exhibition space, changing the traditional relationship between the visitors and the exhibits. The strategy successfully transforms visiting behaviors to a part of daily lives. The project interprets the deep relationship between human and art through diverse and complex cultural expression. It also decomposes the traditional single-visiting-path system, and opens multiple-paths system for visitors, creating many possibilities for art exploration.
Overall, it is a touchable gallery, a garden for sharing feelings and a humanistic public platform.
The Nanshi power station’s 165-meter-tall chimney standing by the Huangpu River has been well-known since it was transformed to a huge thermometer in the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Next to it, the station’s main factory building was eventually revived as the Shanghai’s new contemporary art museum, namely the Power Station of Art. As a result, there rises a huge demand of car parking and a garage is severely necessary.
It is a great challenge to build a garage at the foot of the chimney as the site is very limited. With the volume of 100×20×9m, the building stretches along the roads and surround the chimney in a “U” shape, responding to the north yard of the museum. The smooth as-cast-finish concrete dialogues with the rough concrete and the exposed structure shows respect to the old factory building. The continuous 150mm-thick as-cast-finish concrete wall folds and wraps all the programs: car parking, bicycle parking
and ramps at the two ends.
Through the long window on the second floor, there shows the crowns of trees alongside the roads and further the opposite side of the Huangpu River. The 1000sqm roof platform provides a lively space for diverse activities. Its 9m height level enables people to look over the tree crowns and see the river banks. A white bridge is added, connecting the main building and the chimney, in order to satisfy the future exhibition function in the chimney. Two triangle staircases are hung onto the concrete wall without additional columns and one may feel the chimney is touchable when wandering on the staircases. A short bridge connects the garage and the chimney, creating interaction.Four skylights provide natural illumination and meanwhile enhance the visitors’ perception of the existence of the chimney. The white pebbles on the second floor make the light pervade over the space and the hollowed pattern on the concrete wall reflects the outline of the fire escape stairs in the main building. In fact, from the very beginning of the design, the architects had decided to leave multiple possibilities for the function of the second floor; it could be bicycle parking, art studio, or café, etc.
Architect: Original Design Studio (Zhang Ming / Zhang Zi)
Design Team: Zhang Ming, Zhang Zi, Ding Kuo, Ding Chun, Sun Jialong, Wang Zhigang, Zhang Hao
Location: Huayuangang Rd, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
Building Area: 38000㎡
Photographer: Zhang Siye, Zhang Ming, Wang Yuan