Construction takes shape on David Chipperfield's giant Zhejiang Natural History Museum

Green roofs and a façade of rendered plaster referencing the local earth tones strengthen the idea of a museum integrated into the landscape
– David Chipperfield Architects

An expansive new complex for for the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, has topped out in China.

Set in an area of natural beauty among the forests and hills of Anji County, Zhejiang province, the museum buildings will be spread across eight low-rise pavilion buildings, the shells of which have now been completed.

With a total area of 54,000sq m (581,250sq ft), the museum will be one of the largest in the world when it opens to the public in March 2018.

The Zhejiang Natural History Museum is one of the few provincial-level natural history museums in China, and is also one of the country’s oldest – dating back, in various incarnation, to 1929.

The new complex will provide more space for its collections and educational spaces. There will also be a significant leisure component, including a central garden that serves as the main social area.

Describing the design inspiration, the studio said: “In order to utilise the sloping topography, the landscape flows through the buildings towards a lake at the foot of the site. Green roofs and a façade of rendered plaster referencing the local earth tones strengthen the idea of a museum integrated into the landscape.”

The studio is currently building, expanding or redeveloping several museums around the world, including the Mughal Museum in Agra, India; the Kunsthaus museum in Zurich, Switzerland; the Naqa Site Museum in Sudan; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, US; and the Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany.

Their recently-completed Museo Jumex in Mexico City was one of the shortlisted projects in the inaugural RIBA International Prize celebrating the world's best buildings.

China  David Chipperfield  Zhejiang Natural History Museum  architecture  design 
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An expansive new complex for for the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, has topped out in China. Set in an area of natural beauty among the forests and hills of Anji County, Zhejiang province, the museum buildings will be spread across eight low-rise pavilion buildings, the shells of which have now been completed. With a total area of 54,000sq m (581,250sq ft), the museum will
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The shells of the museum's eight pavilions have been completed  / David Chipperfield Architects
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Construction takes shape on David Chipperfield's giant Zhejiang Natural History Museum
An expansive new complex for for the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, has topped out in China.