How 18th Century Architecture Has Influenced the Suzhou Museum

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Architecture

Document 1

In the past decades, the city has grown to a metropolitan center. The ancient face of buildings has been changed by globalization which has permanently changed the texture of the city. Chinese architects were able to show their culture through buildings a culture which has been gradually replaced by modern architectural designs. Today, historical Chinese architecture, as well as modern architecture, has been influenced by evolution, continuity and foreign influence. China was able to show to the world her wealth and the rich culture which has in return encouraged artists and Chinese architects to adapt their traditional culture in today's life. Suzhou is a city which was founded in 514 BC located in Jiangsu province, Eastern China. It was an artistic center for the Ming dynasty in 15th - 16th century where the most famous artists met.

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This city has a long historical culture which extends for centuries. Initially, the Suzhou museum was built in 1960 with its original location being the Zhong Wang Fu, a historical landmark in traditional Chinese culture. The main activities which were conducted in the museum were calligraphy and painting which mainly focused on displaying the mastery works of Ming masters. The old Suzhou was characterized by whitewashed plaster walls and dark grey clay tiles (Xiang, 2012). Pei adopted these as the primary colors of the museum but used different materials for construction. He chose to use gray granites which had uniform color for roofing. Also, he replaced the traditional roofing beam with steel structure which was cheaper, stronger and durable. The traditional roofs of old Suzhou were designed in patterns to have different geometric shapes.

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The ground buildings are divided into three area, the eastern wing which houses administration offices, shops, and rest area, western wing covering exhibition area and the center wing covering the entrance, main hall and garden. On the other hand, the underground buildings houses parking lot, function rooms, video rooms and galleries. This layout was also inspired by the classical architectural designs where “buildings have unique requirements of sizes, architectural features, and architectural forms. " (Li, 2005). The exhibition area was designed to have several halls which had their roofs designed in eight-angled shaped roofs. Traditionally, architects were focused on making the aesthetic value be felt more by blending their architectural designs with nature. Pei achieved this goal by ensuring that he considered the landscape design and cultural identity.

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On the layout of the museum, there were several exquisite courtyards which were designed to connect the inner and outer space of the museum. In addition, these courtyards were able to connect architecture and nature. The new Suzhou museum today is seen as a work of art which was designed to help the continuity of culture take place. However, this museum has become a landmark in Suzhou as well as an architectural design which bridges Chinese ancient architecture with today's approaches. Works cited Danguan Zhang, (2016). The New Architectural Trend in China: The Heritage and Development of Traditional Culture. Li, Yunhe. Cathay's Idea: Design Theory of Chinese Classical Architecture. lwcj. com/consultant00002268. htm Xiang, C. (2012) Classical Furniture: Suzhou Museum—Designed for China.

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