Three Museums One Square


Guangzhou, China, 2013

The project Three Museums One Square offers an opportunity to express the city of Guangzhou’s culture, background and innovation by creating a state-of-the art cultural cluster in a park-like setting. In UNStudio’s design, multiple path scenarios were introduced to link all activities across the site.  Three museums are then embedded on the landscape as “objects on a tray”.  These three buildings are positioned on the corners of the museum square.

Science Museum: The science museum, designed for education and entertainment, is a proliferation of building mass representing the evolution of knowledge. In UNStudio’s design, the functions have been shift sliced to form a compact planar arrangement, creating a three-dimensional envelope that intertwines functions with public space.

Guangzhou Museum: The design for the Guangzhou Museum is inspired by the stone laying in traditional Lingnan gardens. With five stories above ground two below, the museum is designed as a compact volume with localised articulation in the form of cut-outs and seams. These areas of articulation further address the exchange between exhibition and public functions.

Art Museum: The design for the art museum combines three differently sized building blocks through a looping circulation that forms the organising element of the building. The three ‘pods’ of the museum are linked through the public routing which curates the visitor experience. Along this route different lighting conditions are positioned according to the requirements of the art work on display. The visitor’s path spirals around the exhibition spaces and the large scale semi-public spaces which are used to display large sculptures or installations.


Administration of Culture, Press, Publication, Radio
and Television of Guangzhou Municipality
Bureau of Science and Information Technology of
Guangzhou Municipality
Guangzhou City Construction Investment Group
Location: Guangzhou, China
Building surface:  80,000 sqm per museum, 3 museums in total
Building site: masterplan site 55.5 hectare, museum sites total 10.2 hectare
Programme: Art museum, Science museum, Guangzhou museum, public square, park, podium retail, underground transport connections
Status: competition entry.


UNStudio Amsterdam: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Astrid Piber with Juergen Heinzel, Mo Ching Ying Lai and Marc Salemink, Tom Minderhoud, Luke Tan, Soungmin Yu, Thomas van Bekhoven, Philipp Meise, Yi-Ju Tseng, Di Wu

CSADI : 高思, 汤鹏,曾真

UNStudio Shanghai : Hannes Pfau with Emma Wang, Yeojoon Yoon, Kai Liao

Bartenbach (lighting design)
Arup (traffic, sustainability , structure)
BAM-usa (landscape)