Tianjin Museum Winner

Unbuilt Design Award, Citation of Merit

This project for a museum of the history of Tianjin, China is based on an abstraction of key characteristics and events of the city’s history. Tianjin means “heavenly ford,” which refers to a river crossing made by the emperor of China 607 years ago. Tianjin is interlaced by canals and contains the first lift bridges in China. It is also the largest salt producer in China and saltern water beds are a major feature of its landscape. These references formed the main metaphors for the museum.

An existing water feature of the cultural district is brought into the museum site to recall the saltern beds. Salt crystals form the imagery of a skylight over the central public lobby and also are an inspiration for the cast glass façade system. The uplifted form of the entry and the multilevel pedestrian bridges in the interior public space recall the historical bridges of Tianjin. The exhibition sequence of the museum is organized in a continuous path from bottom to top and terminates at an exterior roof terrace which overlooks a plaza with an abstraction of the plan of Tianjin.

Perkins + Will
Tianjin Museum
General contractor
Tianjin, Tianjin