Finnish PES-Architects wins design competition for Shanghai Submarine Museum

PES-Architects has won the invited international architecture competition for the Shanghai Submarine Museum on the Huangpu riverfront in Shanghai, China, according to this company announcement.

PES-Architects was founded in Finland and operates mainly in Finland and China. The new museum, administratively part of the China Maritime Museum in Shanghai, will occupy a prominent position in a dock of the former Jiangnan Shipyard, more recently part of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo site. The west bank of the Huangpu River in central Shanghai is currently undergoing a major urban transformation with old industrial docks and sites being converted into cultural venues, public parks, and recreational sites.

”We’re thrilled to be implementing a project in our Chinese hometown of Shanghai again. The new museum, while relatively small in size, plays an important role in the revitalization of this historic area on the iconic Huangpu River,” says Tuomas Silvennoinen, partner at PES-Architects.

The museum will initially showcase a decommissioned submarine, later to be expanded with flexible exhibition/event spaces and a restaurant.

In PES-Architects’ concept, the museum is placed as a bridge on top of the submarine and across the dock pool, allowing for continuous flow across the site while leaving most of the dock intact. A low, simple structure of 500 m2 in the first phase, set to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, the building will grow upwards by 3,000 m2 in the second phase (2023).

The building forms a symbiosis with the submarine and hovers over the dock as a mysterious, intriguing object with fantastic views towards the river, the dock, and the submarine. The reflective mirror facade simultaneously amplifies its context and disappears, attracting attention yet respecting its environment. Glass, steel, and wood form an elegant contrast to the rough textures of the museum dock.

The dock floor has a gradually undulating topography that can be partially filled with water to form pools of various sizes, changing the outlook and function of the area.

“This was our second competition win in China this year, soon after the Nanchang Poly Grand Theatre. In both cases, we were invited to participate by major players in the cultural or construction sector who were familiar with our track record of demanding architectural projects completed with a high level of quality. While we’ve done well in many competitions, actually securing a win and commission is no easy task for a relatively small Nordic office. It’s great to see our long-term efforts in China paying off,” says Tuomas Silvennoinen.

The competition was organized as a two-phase invited tendering procedure by Shanghai Bund Investment Group Co. Ltd (BIG), with a total of seven participating design practices. The jury commended the PES-Architects’ proposal for its considered relationship with its surroundings, retaining the feel of the industrial dock and showcasing the submarine, yet creating an artistic architectural image towards the Huangpu River. The solution for the two construction phases was also considered successful.

PES-Architects’ design team: Tuomas Silvennoinen (chief architect), Jyri Eskola, Ziyang Xu, Yueyang Li, Linli Lai, Jian Dou, Jianqiang Lin, Jie Tang, Xiaojing Guan

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