Junya Ishigami's Kilometer-Long Zaishui Art Museum "Floats" Across a Lake in China

The designer merges nature and architecture by letting water flow into the building to cover a portion of its angled floor.

Design
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Japanese architect Junya Ishigami has cut the ribbon on his latest design feat: the one-kilometer-long, 20,000-square-meter Zaishu Art Museum that spans across a man-made lake in Rizhao, China.

The impressive gallery appears to emerge from the water and “float” across the lake, thanks to the repeated, columnar structure that holds up its light concrete roof. Glass panels fill the space in between each column, letting visitors look out onto the water while viewing the museum’s exhibitions (which currently include a chocolate-themed art showcase).

“When contemplating architecture in China, that country’s vast, boundless landscapes can pose a daunting challenge,” Ishigami said in a statement. “So the question is, how to treat environment and architecture as equals in the Chinese context? How to bring environment and architecture as close as possible to each other, how to make the boundary between them as ambiguous as possible, how to make nature the gentlest presence possible for us humans? Such are the themes for this project.”

Notably, the designer unites nature with architecture by leaving a small space between the museum’s floor and the lake’s surface, which lets water flow inside the building to cover a portion of the floor at an angle.

On the shore of the artificial lake, Ishigami constructed a visitors’ center that lives under a grass-laden roof. The edifice boasts a similar column-based construction, and it’s connected to the museum by way of two walking paths.

See the Zaishui Art Museum in the gallery above.

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