Located in Xuhui District in Shanghai, the site for the Long Museum West Bund was originally a coal wharf on the Huangpu River. A hopper bridge for unloading coal, which is about 110 meters long, 10 meters wide, and 8 meters high and built in the 1950s, has been preserved. Adjacent to the bridge is a two-story underground parking garage, which was built two years before plans for the Long began and part of a building whose above-ground floors were never realized and its only part remaining.

The new design reuses and develops the potentials left from the column grid of 8.4 meters by 8.4 meters, which is legacy of the original underground parking garage’s standard spatial optimization. Free-floating wall structures in the space create an experience of promenade for exhibition visitors, fulfilling the new museum’s functional performance. These dispersed and autonomous walls are formed by cast-in-situ fair-faced concrete. Each rises vertically and extends out to form umbrella-vaulted canopies. A horizontal sliver visibly separates each unit of a cantilevered umbrella-vault structure from the next.

These walls extending down from the ground floor land into the existing column grid of the existing basement structure. The configuration of the shear walls, thus, also transforms the lower ground floor also into an exhibition space. The second floor of the lower ground remains as parking, with only some of the walls extending to the parking floor as needed. The mechanical system is integrated into the cavity between the walls of the vault-umbrella units, freeing the interior as an uninterrupted space for exhibition. The vertical wall and the horizontal ceiling, both of which are made by fair-faced concrete on the surface, are smoothed by the transition of the half oval vault. The ceiling appears minimally in the horizontal plane of the interior.

The integration of structure, the mechanical system, and the spatial image together form the ‘volumetric structure.‘ In this sense, this clarity of expression in terms of structure, construction, and spatial intention performs much as the coal-unloading hopper bridge did on the original industrial site.

source: Atelier Deshaus