Wuxi Art Museum


Wuxi Art Museum

As a proposed new center of art and culture in the region, the Wuxi Museum and Art Park builds on the cues of the Chinese garden tradition whose legacy has long been part of the Wuxi-Suzhou-Shanghai area.

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Set within Shangxianhe Wetland Park, the museum’s site design and architectural form closely connect to the natural context and integrate the museum experience with the natural environment.


The architecture is conceived as a metaphorical Taihu Scholar Stone: a contemplative and intricate spatial structure that simultaneously invites one’s spirit in but also sits quietly as a meditative object amidst the broader natural context.

The building becomes a set piece in a larger overall composition, highlighting views in and out of the museum through its cracks and crevices that are seen as a series of subtractions and removals from a larger massing, similar to the erosion of spirit stones by the natural forces of wind and water. As a result, the garden metaphor inspires not only a formal proposition but an experiential one as well, providing an ever-transforming journey of art and nature through a carefully composed choreography that unfolds something new with each successive step.


Utilizing a rich composition of solid and void, the building form creates an integrated relationship between landscape environments and the dynamic architecture.

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Ennead and West 8 Landscape Architects collaborated closely on the design of the entire art experience. Interlocked and Intertwined with the porous museum experience of courtyards and galleries, the architecture and the landscape share a language that extends the experience of the museum from the inside-out. Inspired by Wuxi’s wetland ecology, regional tradition of water management and canals, the landscape and architecture symbiotically expand and contract, the sequence of experiences invites the visitor to explore, and to be immersed within a layered system of sculpture gardens.

At the main entry, the Museum welcomes visitors with an embracing civic plaza which becomes an exhibit opportunity for public art. A Central Court provides a reference point for the museum, with a lily-filled waterscape for reflection and tranquility viewed from adjacent programs or footbridges crisscrossing at the upper galleries.

Landscape vignettes

Additional carved voids from the museum massing define distinct outdoor realms, creating an intimate relationship and intertwining framed views of outdoor art exhibits set within composed natural scenes. The curated path meanders through a series of different gardens, courtyards and plazas with open lawns and playscapes. Flexible green space for an Outdoor Amphitheater allows visitors to enjoy art projections, movie screenings and performances. Throughout this sequence, signature sculptures and art installations will immerse people in both art and nature, culminating in an immersive art experience.


Unique façade perforation and texture are employed to introduce varied types of light and views into the interior experience, as well as an attitude toward the coursing and shaping of the limestone façade. Perforations in the stone facade give the opportunity for filtered light to enter the Museum. Combined with the slightly translucent moments of glass curtainwall, the two types of openings create a presence that transforms from day to night. The soft glow of the museum interior provides a subtle glimpse of the activity happening within. During the day, the articulated limestone facade creates a textured expression and an interesting dialogue between smooth surfaces and forms and porous areas of roughness. The perforated stone further links the architecture to the concept of the intricate spirit stones, where holes and crevices provide a level of interest and entrancement to the viewer.


Wuxi, China
30,000 GSM / 322,917 GSF
Art Museum, Public Park


Ennead Design Team
Thomas Wong, Kevin McClurkan, Grace Chen, Brian Masuda, Devin Murray, Edward Chang, Yan Ding, Geoffrey Hughes, Weiwei Kuang, Oliver Li, Yimika Osunsanya, Lanxi Sun
Landscape Architect
West 8