Back to architecture…
In 1857 a small group of British and Americans seeking intellectual engagement in a city dedicated to commerce established the Shanghai Literary and Scientific Society. Within a year the organisation was granted affiliation with the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (NCBRAS) was born. The Society fell into decline following the death of the Society’s first inspirational American president, the Rev. Elijah C. Bridgman in 1861. However Sir Harry Parkes, British Consul, successfully resurrected it in 1864. The Society’s intent was to investigate subjects connected with China and surrounding nations, to publish papers in a Journal and to establish a library and a museum.
Why am I telling you this?
The headquarter of the RAS ( named after the Society, RAS ), located at the Bund in Shanghai also was the first museum in China founded in 1932. It belongs to a residential block of houses where the Suzhou Creek leads into the Huangpu River. Back then, likewise nowadays, a prime location in the city of Shanghai. This area, also known as the “Rockbund”, belongs to a project I am involved in since being a member of the team at David Chipperfield Architects in Shanghai.
Within the masterplan of regaining the original architecture, the RAS building will open its doors to visitors as the first of ten buildings at the Rockbund site on may 4. With a new interior, also designed by David Chipperfield architects, it will shelter the “Shanghai Bund Art Museum”, being the only Museum at the Bund exhibiting contemporary art.
Regaining the original facade – click to enlarge -
The grand opening will follow with an exhibition of Cai Guo-Qiang, a renowned chinese artist
( created the opening and closing fireworks ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics ),
named “Peasant Da Vinci”.
And if you ever make it to that place, be sure to walk outside the balconies to have a bird’s eye view on the hustle and bustle down on the city streets.
Guess who designed on what you’re standing there?!?
About the Artist Cai Guo-Qiang:
>Cai Guo-Qiang: “I Like Things That Are Hard To Control”