Organic Architecture of China’s Liyang Museum

Flowing and organic, the new Liyang Museum in China, designed by architecture firm CROX, is inspired by the city’s cultural heritage and environment.

The design references Jiaoweiqin, a Chinese musical instrument, conveying the instrument’s sound through the building’s shape and sharing the same colour of the instrument’s wooden form.

Set within a carefully designed new urban district in the city of Liyang in eastern China, a new museum focusing on the local history sits like a pebble next to a lake. The project is the flagship of this new part of town, which is defined by its flowing, organic lines and artful blend of water, greenery and public landscaping.

The openness is meant to welcome people from all directions, explain the museum’s architects. Their task was to create a cultural landmark for the area and wider city.

‘From the Asian point of view, architecture is seen as part of the whole of nature, which contains both inner and outer space; space that connects humans, earth and everything in the universe’, say the architects. So a key driver in this design was the connection between inside and outside, both visually, in terms of lines and overall flow, and physically, in terms of access points and routes. 

Trying to maintain a fine balance between the natural and the manmade, the architects created a building that nestles lightly on a green hill. Its curvaceous shape, clad in aluminium, blends effortlessly with its surroundings, with the grounds around it acting almost as a vast entrance lobby to the exhibits within. 

Wooden pathways, terraces and voids beneath the upper volume provide places for visitors to explore, while a plaza outside the museum at street-level provides public realm for the area.