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Tianjin EcoCity Ecology and Planning Museums

Steven Holl Architects

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Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Administrative


  • Tianjin Architectural Design Institute
  • Structural Engineer: CABR
  • Transsolar
  • L’Observatoire International

Project Status

Concept Proposal

Year Completed



645,835 sq. feet



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Project Description

First Award
The governments of Singapore and China are partnering to build a new eco-city for 350,000 on a reclaimed salt pan and polluted tidal flats in Tianjin (approximately 80 miles from Beijing), in order to demonstrate sustainable best practices. Anchoring opposite sides of a plaza, the Ecology and Planning museums, which (at 215,278 square feet apiece) incorporate exhibition spaces, offices, a public plaza, event spaces, and a café, are the first elements that will be built in the cultural district. One museum is a rectangular volume with large voids that appear to be carved away; the other, more sculptural form represents the collective spaces subtracted from the first. Inside and out, the design approach yields a variety of heroic, irregularly shaped spaces. In the curvilinear Ecology Museum, visitors spiral upward along a ramp that traces the edge of a large atrium. The rectilinear Planning Museum—with an exterior shear wall made of bamboo-formed concrete—tells the story of the city’s formation. “It has a strong identity and it’s compositionally interesting,” juror Lise Anne Couture said. “There’s coherence between the interior and the exterior, and between one interior space and another.” —Vernon Mays
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