14 January 2011

Suzhou Museum - I M Pei

After seeing -and impressed by- many of the gardens in Suzhou (see HERE), I had high hopes for I M Pei's Suzhou Museum.  Especially having seen his Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan.

The Suzhou Museum is all about modern interpretation of the traditional methods utilised in Chinese garden-making.  Whilst the Suzhou Museum employs some of the techniques and elements - such as pond, rockery, diminishing of perspectives, view borrowing...and more..... - the entry, the first point one encounters, already makes a very Westernised decision by exposing people directly to the view beyond.

Beautiful building..... but the liveliness and strength evident in Luce Chapel was nowhere be found.

at the entry forecourt to the museum. sophisticated proportion and material selection was very calming

entry forecourt

automatic doors to entry airlock, when closed, formed some interesting illusional effect together with the oriental suggestion by utilising the circles.

entry porch. when the doors opened (comparing the last photo) the view was taken through the building, directly to the view outside the building opposite the entry. Which was something quite so contradicting to the traditional Chinese garden philosophy - which is suggestive, and a lot of play with imagination by manipulating what is shown and disguised. The moment these doors opened the build-up on approaching the building was instantly questioned.

inside of the museum.  beautiful skylight effects.

looking directly up at one of the skylights

ceiling detail inside the museum gallery rooms. lined fully with timber, the gallery rooms were warm and and elaborated, formed a strong contrast to the architecture itself.

window element reminiscent of the traditional gardens

view of the entry building from the internal courtyard

internal courtyard with formal elements of pond, bridge, and rockery. Can you see the difference comparing with other gardens such as Huan Xiu Shan Zhuang (“Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty”) or Master of Nets Garden?   By the way one has to cross the bridge to circulate from one side to the other side of the Museum.

More reading on Suzhou Museum:

Suzhou Museum official site

Wangjiangshuo's blog

World Architecture News

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    This Museum is a must-see attraction in Suzhou. First, it is a uniquely interesting building, combining traditional features and modern building concepts. The Architect, I M Pei, devoted special care and attention to this project as his forefathers had owned and lived in the nearby Lion Grove Garden