Perkins+Will-designed Shanghai Natural History Museum has opened in China.

A nautlius shell inspired the 44,517m² museum’s overall shape and building organisation, which features exhibit spaces, a 4D theatre, an outdoor exhibit garden and a 30m-tall atrium with glass wall.

According to Perkins+Will, the building replaces the original Natural History Museum and highlights natural elements across its façades such as the central cell wall, the east living wall and the northern stone wall.

Perkins+Will global design director Ralph Johnson said: "The use of cultural references found in traditional Chinese gardens was key to the design.

"Through its integration with the site, the building represents the harmony of human and nature and is an abstraction of the basic elements of Chinese art and design."

The bioclimatic building uses an intelligent building skin that increases daylight, cuts solar gain and responds to the sun. Its temperature is controlled with a geothermal system that uses energy from the earth for both heating and cooling.

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"The building represents the harmony of human and nature and is an abstraction of the basic elements of Chinese art and design."

The oval courtyard pond of the building provides evaporative cooling, while rain water is collected from the vegetated roof to be stored in the pond along with recycled grey water.

Located in the Jing An District, in the centre of downtown Shanghai, and within the Jing An Sculpture Park, the museum will be a key attraction for tourists and locals.

Perkins+Will’s Shanghai office managing director James Lu said: "For people who grew up in Shanghai, the old nature museum has a special place in their memories.

"Likewise, there is much excitement surrounding the opening of the new museum, which will have a similar place in the hearts of both residents and tourists alike."

Image: The Shanghai Natural History Museum features a glass-fronted atrium. Photo: courtesy of Perkins+Will.