reduce, reuse, recycle: SHANGHAI SCULPTURE SPACE
Following the central government’s criticism of Shanghai’s lack of cultural development the Shanghai Municipal Government determined to develop instant culture. Build the venues and the art will come. The city planned to open more than 100 new art venues between 2006 and the hosing of the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010. This project was designed, built and had its opening exhibition within four months of the developer gaining possession of the site.
Rejuvenating a dilapidated 1950s steel factory the design seeks to create a place of potential for a growing art culture. It explores new ways of viewing art, placing the observer in a variety of physical relationships with art pieces. It encourages art happenings and performances by providing balconies, ramps and amphitheater seating for observers and participants. It seeks to provide freedom for all manner of art interventions by avoiding the preciousness of most cultural institutions and maintaining an industrial rawness. External events are made possible via oversized doors that connect the main hall with a giant veranda and the sculpture garden beyond.
Half of the 180m long building houses a public exhibition hall. The other half is houses art related tenants such as private galleries, studios, bookshops, training facilities and a cafe. In the hope of nurturing cross-fertilisation this semi-private zone is organised around an internal street. Full height and running the entire length of the factory this is a place of maximum interaction and exchange with all circulation overlooking this space. The project has been an effective anchor and catalyst for the rejuvenation of numerous factories around an open green sculpture park. Red Town now supports one of the highest concentrations of contemporary art galleries in Shanghai.