Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Campus Expansion Master Planning and Architectural Design Competition

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Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Campus Expansion Master Planning and Architectural Design Competition

This campus expansion and re-envisioning positions Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts – one of China’s top schools of fine art – as an Academy in the Park: thriving, inspired by the natural world, an oasis and destination within the dense urban fabric of Tianjin.

1516 Tafa Ext

An identifiable core completes the institution’s historic quad and integrates the campus and its activities with adjacent neighborhoods, effectively enhancing the Academy’s influence as a creative force, as an engine for art and as a cultural and creative hub for the city and region.

1516 Tafa Gallery Section Perspective

The massing, scale and proportions of the new academic core building draw inspiration from the historic campus buildings, where a simple structural bay regulates the facades. Façade surfaces are sculpted with a variety of texture and depth to heighten the play of light and shadow, and imbue the architecture with a more modern, artistic sensibility.

The museum defines the Academy’s architectural identity. Geometrically pure, strikingly simple and clad in corrugated glass, this highly specialized “art container” becomes an art object itself.

1516 Tafa Model2
1516 Tafa Model1

The figural studio buildings are playful pavilions that sit as objects in a newly designed art park and whose sinuous shape and layered materiality contrast to the stability and rigor of the foundation buildings. Corresponding to the programs within, each interior courtyard is organized and themed around four different approaches to the making of art: Apply, Project, Shape and Experiment.

1516 Tafa Inbetween Culster Bridge
1516 Tafa Garden
1516 Tafa Interior Atrium

A continuous ground-level podium and concourse serving the core and professional studio buildings, unify the community: students and faculty mix in a lively environment full of study pods, social activity, exhibition areas, landscaped courtyards and art production space, connect the core and professional studio buildings.

The design is the product of a three-month international competition for the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts campus.


Tianjin, China
2,165,139 GSF | 200,000 GSM
Classrooms, Offices, Student and Faculty Residences, Galleries, Design Studios, Laboratories


Ennead Design Team
Thomas Wong, Don Weinreich, Brian Masuda, Grace Chen, Joshua Frankel, Margarita Calero, Xiaoyun Mao, Eliza Montgomery, Na Sun, Justin Woo
SAN Labs