BRING­ING CUL­TURE TO THE FORE­FRONT

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHANG KUN in Shang­hai zhangkun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The city is em­bark­ing on a se­ries of projects that will ce­ment its po­si­tion as a lead­ing global hub for the arts and her­itage, with the new wing of the Shang­hai Mu­seum set to be the crown jewel

The con­struc­tion of the new branch of the Shang­hai Mu­seum in Pudong New Area is among a slew of new projects in the city aimed at turn­ing Shang­hai into an in­ter­na­tional cul­tural hub by 2020.

These projects are part of a masterplan to turn Shang­hai into a world-class me­trop­o­lis in a va­ri­ety of ar­eas, in­clud­ing science, in­no­va­tion, ship­ping and trade.

The new wing is con­sid­ered one of the most sig­nif­i­cant projects of the plan as the Shang­hai Mu­seum is widely con­sid­ered the most rep­utable in the city and at­tracts the most pub­lic at­ten­tion.

Lo­cated next to the Shang­hai Science and Tech­nol­ogy Mu­seum, the new Shang­hai Mu­seum East Wing will be built along­side the new Pudong branch of the Shang­hai Li­brary. The con­struc­tion of the two fa­cil­i­ties kicked off on Sept 27.

When the two build­ings are com­pleted by 2020, the area be­tween Cen­tury Av­enue, Yang­gao Road South and Dingx­i­ang Road, will be­come the new heart of Pudong’s cul­tural scene.

The new Shang­hai Mu­seum East Wing will oc­cupy 105,000 square me­ters, about twice the size of its ex­ist­ing venue at Peo­ple’s Square, and have six floors and two base­ment lev­els. The build­ing, which is de­signed by ar­chi­tect Li Li and his team from the ar­chi­tec­tural in­sti­tute of Tongji Univer­sity, will be min­i­mal­is­tic in na­ture and have a mar­ble fa­cade.

Vis­i­tors to the new mu­seum will also be able to view the Lu­ji­azui cityscape from the cafe lounges, out­door pa­tios and roof gar­dens in the fa­cil­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to Yang Zhi­gang, di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Mu­seum, the new wing will fo­cus on fur­ther de­vel­op­ing the mu­seum’s ed­u­ca­tional func­tion. To achieve this, an in­ter­ac­tive space has been cre­ated to show­case ex­hibits about hu­man civ­i­liza­tion.

The mu­seum will also have a read­ing room, dig­i­tal video room and lec­ture hall.

The Shang­hai Mu­seum cur­rently re­ceives about 2 mil­lion vis­i­tors ev­ery year, with most of them be­ing over­seas trav­el­ers. Stu­dents and young au­di­ences only ac­count for a small per­cent­age of the crowds and Yang hopes the new wing will be able to draw more of such in­di­vid­u­als.

Yang added that the mu­seum is striv­ing to be­come one of the world’s top venues fea­tur­ing an­cient Chi­nese art and will rely on tech­nol­ogy to achieve this goal. For ex­am­ple, the new wing will fea­ture a state-of-theart ex­hi­bi­tion space re­served for the num­ber of art mu­se­ums in Shang­hai at the mo­ment

show­cas­ing an­cient Chi­nese cul­ture and spe­cial rooms where the tem­per­a­ture and air qual­ity are con­trolled will be built to store frag­ile and pre­cious ob­jects that were not pre­vi­ously shown to the pub­lic. There will be a strong fo­cus on de­sign­ing new ex­hi­bi­tions that can tell com­pelling sto­ries.

Li Zhong­mou, deputy di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Mu­seum, said that the main branch of the mu­seum in Peo­ple’s Square is un­der­go­ing ren­o­va­tion works, with much of it in­volv­ing the chang­ing of old plumb­ing sys­tems and wires.

This is the first time such a large-scale ren­o­va­tion project is tak­ing place in the mu­seum since the build­ing was first put into use in 1996.

Other on­go­ing cul­tural projects in Pudong in­clude the Pudong Art Mu­seum and the Expo Cul­ture Park.

Sit­u­ated near Lu­ji­azui, the Pudong Art Mu­seum sits on a prime piece of land by the Huangpu River that has been cov­eted by real es­tate de­vel­op­ers. How­ever, in a bid to show that it is se­ri­ous about be­com­ing a global cul­tural hub, city au­thor­i­ties have set aside this area for the de­vel­op­ment of arts and cul­ture.

When com­pleted, the Expo Cul­ture Park will oc­cupy 188 hectares and be joined with the ex­ist­ing 23-hectare Houtan Park. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, the city will in­vest more than 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.6 bil­lion) in the build­ing of the Expo Cul­ture Park, which mem­bers of the pub­lic have dubbed as Shang­hai’s very own Cen­tral Park, a ref­er­ence to the fa­mous park in New York City in the United States.

The de­sign of the new park, which will have a di­verse botan­i­cal com­po­si­tion, will re­flect Shang­hai’s in­dus­trial his­tory by fea­tur­ing a land­scape cre­ated us­ing junk ma­te­ri­als from the con­struc­tion in­dus­try. The space will house a new opera house and be able to host out­door con­certs.

Shang­hai presently has 77 art mu­se­ums that host about 500 ex­hi­bi­tions ev­ery year, four times more than five years ago, ac­cord­ing to East­day.com. Eighty per­cent of the 125 Sta­te­owned or spe­cial­ized mu­se­ums — they re­ceive more than 21 mil­lion peo­ple in to­tal ev­ery year — are free to the pub­lic.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

An aerial view of the var­i­ous artis­tic venues in Pudong New Area (top). An artist’s im­pres­sion of the new wing of the Shang­hai Mu­seum in Pudong (mid­dle) and an il­lus­tra­tion of what the Expo Cul­ture Park will look like when it opens (bot­tom).

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