The illustrious 19th century Qing dynasty politician, Zhang Zhidong, is primarily remembered for modernizing the Chinese army and for establishing the steel industry in Wuhan. It seems appropriate then that the new Shang Shidong Industrial Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, should be built in the city of Wuhan. Even more fitting is that the museum, which will celebrate the city’s iron and steel culture, will be built on the manufacturing site of the Hanyang-made rifle and will preserve the famous Hanyang ironworks and Hanyang arsenal.
(Courtesy Studio Daniel Libeskind)
The architect’s plans for the industrial museum divide the structure into three levels, each highlighting a different aspect of the steel industry: the Modern Industrial section, focusing on ironworks history, the Heavy Industry section, focusing on military machinery and transportation, and the Light Industrial section, dedicated to advances in water, power, textiles and food processing. Other smaller buildings pertaining to the museum will honor prominent figures involved in the history of the Chinese industrial work force.
The bold design of the building accurately reflects the force with which Wuhan was able to establish itself as a primary manufacturer of steel and iron in China while simultaneously accentuating the city’s promising future. The museum, located in a suburban site surrounded by greenery, is dominated by a thick arching curve that forcefully reaches for the sky. This domineering structure rests on two geometrically shaped structures and is supported by a complex steel frame. The highest peak of the museum offers occupants views of the city while the museum floors overlook the gardens.
The museum is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by the Chinese New Year (January 31st, 2014).