In the middle of a plain located in the economic centre of the Bohai coast (Tianjin, China), one can see a white, majestic mass with an avant-garde air, Shimao – The Wave, a museum that is a space where culture, education and entertainment coexist. The creators of the project are the Chinese studio Lacime architects, who chose a special environment to express the poetic dialogue with the work.
As its name indicates, the building emulates a wave that converges with the sky and man. In this way, it is a point of connection between space, people, the sun, the air and the sea.
The area is organised into three main elements: the art museum, an open-air tetro and a public space. All of them linked to the surrounding beach. The art museum rises above the ground creating a floating effect. In addition, the building has several open-air terraces where the visitor can feel the natural energies that coexist there.
The foyer is the epicentre of the structure and is characterised by a skylight that contrasts with the darkness of the room. It is covered by three water curtains combined with stainless steel details generating a very relaxing visual and tactile experience for the visitor. The first floor has a meeting room and a bathroom while the second floor contains the rooms of the main gallery, the terraces, a library and the cafeteria. One of the pavilions is accessed through a promenade.
The lighting on the first floor is marked by a wall of sheets of very light glass so that the entrance of light is direct and the views of the sea are spectacular. It also manages to unite the interior and exterior.
From the finishes of the interior of the upper floor, the fabrics that adorn the ceiling, the carefully polished floor, curved furniture, large windows and the “bubble” sculptures try to evoke the essence of the sea.
As for the structure, it is pertinent to mention two technical aspects that were applied for its materialization: a parametric design thanks to the BIM technology. The façade of the building is magnetic to the eye, above all because of the arrangement of the aluminium plates that make it up, as they are scaled. In this way, the walls reflect the light from different angles depending on the time of day. In turn, the pool surrounding the building creates effects by reflecting off the plates. In addition, this shell-shaped structure replaces the columns, filling the space by dividing it into three sections that balance the tension of the building in each direction, starting from a central concrete core. BIM technology is responsible for achieving this harmony between the thirteen thousand slabs that make up the building and for achieving a rhythmic composition in an ascending spiral. Therefore, it is possible to visually perceive that the ceiling and the façade form a totally homogeneous, refined and balanced design that is also functional.
A risky project that was delayed due to the standstill caused by the economic crisis of 2008 and was completed in 2019. In an organic style, very much in line with contemporary architects, it transmits the fluidity, movement and balance that the sea has.