Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition is a new museum built in the Futian Cultural District of Shenzhen, China. Credit: © Szeto Wing.
MOCAPE is one of the many civic and cultural facilities being developed in Shenzhen, China. Credit: © Szeto Wing.
The museum design is a three-dimensional version of Chinese gardens. Credit: © Szeto Wing.
The central atrium of MOCAPE features a reflective entertainment element called the Cloud. Credit: © Szeto Wing.
The building is covered with insulated glass held by a network of extruded steel trusses. Credit: © Szeto Wing.
Ramps and escalators provide access to various exhibition halls of the museum. Credit: © Szeto Wing.
The insulated glass exterior allows plenty of natural light into the building. Credit: © Szeto Wing.

The Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) was inaugurated on 25 September 2016. The project has combined the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Planning Exhibition (PE) in Shenzhen, China.

Construction of the building, designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, began in 2013 with an estimated investment of $100m.

The MOCAPE completes the eastern part of the Futian Cultural District master plan, which aimed to create a new urban centre with administrative, commercial and cultural functions.

Aside from the MOCAPE, other civic and cultural facilities in the area include the City Library, the Opera House, the Central Bookstore, and the Youth Activity Hall.

Design of the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition

The museum is built on a 21,688m² site with a gross floor area of 80,000m². The seven-storey building is 40m high and located 10m above ground level.

Its design combines the MOCA and PE under one roof while keeping the two entities separate to highlight their individual functional and artistic requirements.

The MOCA museum features two levels of gallery space with flexible partition walls that can be configured according to exhibition requirements. Ceiling heights range from 6m to 17m across the two levels. The PE museum also features two levels of open public space with 6m ceiling heights.

Other areas in the museum include the Plinth, the Public Plaza, and a vertical circulation element called the Cloud.

The Plinth includes public and private spaces from the ground level to the main upper level. The public spaces, which can be used commonly by the two institutions, include a lobby, exhibition spaces, auditorium, conference spaces and service areas.

The private spaces, located on the eastern section of the Plinth, include the administration and research areas. The basement of the building includes storage and preparation spaces for exhibitions, electrical systems and public parking area. The Plinth and basement comprise reinforced concrete flat slabs, columns and walls.

A central atrium between the two institutions serves as the building’s circulation space. It features a public plaza, which acts as an orientation and starting point for museum tours and can be accessed via ramps and escalators.

The plaza also contains the Cloud, an entertainment area that connects exhibition rooms from both museums through bridges and ramps. It also features a number of public amenities, such as a library, a café and a book shop.

Façade of the MOCAPE

The MOCAPE features a multi-functional twisted facade, which is structurally independent of the main building. It is made of natural stone louvers covered by insulated glass and held by an interwoven network of extruded steel trusses. A maintenance space separates the two layers of the glass façade.

The louvers are oriented to protect the glass surfaces from solar gain during the summer and enable solar gain during the winter. The orientation also allows sufficient daylight to enter the building to illuminate public spaces, increasing the building’s energy efficiency.

Sustainable features of the new Chinese museum

Renewable solar and geothermal energy sources provide power to the museum. A substantial portion of the building’s energy needs will be supplied through a highly efficient gas-fired co-generation plant.

The roof of the building is fitted with solar thermal collectors, which power absorption chillers during the summer and floor heating systems during the winter. A groundwater cooling system has also been installed. The building’s roof filters natural daylight for the exhibition spaces.

Contractors involved

HSArchitects was the local architecture consultant on the project. Structural engineering services were provided by Germany-based Bollinger + Grohmann.

Mechanical, electrical and plumbing services were provided by Reinhold Bacher, while AG Licht was responsible for the lighting design.