The Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron won the bid to build a museum devoted to the history and construction of China’s Grand Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014 – in the city of Hangzhou, at the junction of the canal and the Hanggang River. David Chipperfield Architects and Zaha Hadid Architects also took part in the competition.
Surrounded by water, the building will contain 50,000 square meters of exhibition galleries organized in two levels, and will be raised 12 meters to form a covered public space beneath. There willalso be a grand ballroom and a banquet room enclosed in veil-like glass under the museum.
The museum’s facade presents large concave glass elements resembling ripples. The east part of the site is reserved for a complex including a hotel, a conference center, restaurants, and the museum lobby. Hence the project pursues the classic Chinese ideal of landscapes with “water in front, mountain in the back.”