January 2019: Construction has been completed on the Binhai Science Museum (formerly The Modern City and Industrial Exploratorium of Tianjin Binhai New Area Culture Center), a 33,000-square-meter (355,200-square-foot) museum structure in Tianjin, China. Designed in 2013-2014, the Binhai Science Museum is set to open in Fall 2019. The institution will showcase artifacts from Tianjin’s industrial past through large-scale contemporary technology, including spectacular rockets for space research. The project is part of the city’s Binhai Cultural Center and contains facilities for cultural events and exhibitions as well as galleries, offices, and restaurant and retail spaces.
Bernard Tschumi Architects designed the Binhai Science Museum to relate to the rich industrial history of the area, the site of high-volume manufacturing and research. A series of large-scale cones creates major rooms throughout the museum. The central cone, lit from above, connects all three levels of the building. A spiralling ramp ascends to the top level, offering an unusual spatial experience of the modern vertical city by reinterpreting an ancient industrial typology. The roof is accessible to visitors and acts as a promenade with striking views over the surrounding city.
“The Binhai Science Museum is designed as a building for the past, the present, and the future of Tianjin,” says Bernard Tschumi.
The focal point of the exhibition complex is the grand lobby or cone that provides access to all public parts of the program. This immense cone—almost double the height of the Guggenheim Museum—connects to all surrounding spaces and allows visitors to spiral through the large exhibition halls stacked on each end of the building, past view portholes and lightwells that give each hall an individual character and configuration. Grand, triple-height spaces define the main circulation, while a constellation of lights and circular lightwells give the space an other-worldly feel. The perforated aluminium facade gives a unified presence to the building, despite its large size and the disparate elements of the program.
The cones provide even, natural light to gallery spaces and reduce the energy loads required for artificial lighting. Their tapered forms also concentrate warm air, which can then be channelled out of the building in summer or back into the galleries in winter. Glazing surfaces are minimized except when desired for program. The perforated metal panels of the facade help reduce heat gain. The central, large atrium acts as a solar chimney, drawing up hot air and replacing it with cool air from below in a constant airstream.
The Binhai Science Museum has been designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects in collaboration with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI). It is the office’s first large-scale, built architectural project in China. The Binhai Cultural Center master plan was prepared by GMP and includes a library designed by MVRDV.
New York and Paris
Bernard Tschumi is widely recognized as one of today’s foremost architects. First known as a theorist, he drew attention to his innovative architectural practice in 1983 when he won the prestigious competition for the Parc de La Villette, a 125-acre cultural park based on activities as much as nature. The intertwining concepts of “event” and “movement” in architecture are supported by Tschumi’s belief that architecture is the most important innovation of our time. Tschumi often references other disciplines in his work, such as literature and film, proving that architecture must participate in culture’s polemics and question its foundations.
Since then, he has made a reputation for groundbreaking designs that include the new Acropolis Museum; Le Fresnoy National Studio for the Contemporary Arts; the Vacheron-Constantin Headquarters; The Richard E. Lindner Athletics Center at the University of Cincinnati; two concert halls in Rouen and Limoges, and architecture schools in Marne-la-Vallée, France and Miami, Florida, as well as the Alésia Archaeological Center and Museum among other projects. The office’s versatility extends to infrastructure projects and master plans. Major urban design projects recently executed or in implementation under Tschumi’s leadership include master plans in Beijing, Shenzhen, New York, Montreal, Chartres, Lausanne, and Santo Domingo, with a new city for 40,000 residents. Recently completed are the Hague Passage and Hotel in the Netherlands, a Philharmonic Hall for Le Rosey, near Geneva, an expansion of the headquarters for Vacheron Constantin, and a major renovation and redesign of the Paris Zoo. The Exploratorium, a 50,000 sf Museum for the Industry and the City, opens in 2017, in Tianjin.
Tschumi was awarded France’s Grand Prix National d’Architecture in 1996 as well as numerous awards from the American Institute of Architects and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. He is also an international fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in England and a member of the Collège International de Philosophie and the Académie d’Architecture in France, where he has been the recipient of distinguished honors that include the rank of Officer in both the Légion d’Honneur and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Tschumi’s Acropolis Museum was honored as a finalist for European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2011, and an Honor Award from the AIA the same year.
The many books devoted to Tschumi’s writings and architectural practice include a comprehensive monograph, titled Architecture Concepts: Red is Not a Color, narrates Tschumi’s career in work and ideas since the 1970s and was published by Rizzoli in 2012, the four-part Event-Cities series (MIT Press, 1994, 2000, 2005, and 2010); The Manhattan Transcripts (Academy Editions and St. Martin’s Press, 1981 and 1994); Architecture and Disjunction (MIT Press, 1994, translated in eight languages); and the monograph Tschumi (Universe/Thames and Hudson, English version, and Skira, Italian version, 2003). A series of conversations with the architect has been published by The Monacelli Press under the title Tschumi on Architecture (2006). Other recent publications include a French and English language biography on Tschumi by Gilles de Bure and The New Acropolis Museum, published by Skira / Rizzoli and the important catalogue by the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2014).
A graduate of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Tschumi has taught architecture at a range of institutions including the Architectural Association in London, Princeton University, and The Cooper Union in New York. He is a Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation where he was Dean from 1988 to 2003. Tschumi is a permanent resident of the United States and has French and Swiss citizenship.
Tschumi’s work has been exhibited in solo shows at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam, the Pompidou Center in Paris, as well as other museums and art galleries in the United States and Europe.
During the 1970s, through drawings and written texts, Bernard Tschumi insisted that there is no architecture without events, without actions or activity. His early work recognized that buildings respond to and intensify the activities that occur within them, and that events alter and creatively extend the structures that contain them. In other words, architecture is not defined by its “formal” container, but rather by its combinations of spaces, movements, and events.
This research was put in practice in 1983 with the commission to design the 125-acre Parc de la Villette. The project’s brief became the starting point for a new “cultural” park based on activity rather than nature, one whose many buildings, gardens, bridges, and fields would serve as sites for concerts, exhibitions, sporting events, and more. La Villette’s popular success (its annual attendance far exceeds EuroDisney’s) is matched by the programmatic changes it fosters, as when its green playing fields are transformed into a 3,000-seat outdoor cinema on summer nights, dramatically altering the site.
Completed projects by the office, in addition to the Parc de la Villette, include Le Fresnoy National Studio for Contemporary Arts in Tourcoing, France (1997); Columbia University’s Lerner Hall Student Center in New York (1999); Marne-la-Vallée School of Architecture in Paris (1999); the Interface Flon, a bus, train, and subway station and pedestrian bridge in Lausanne, Switzerland (2001); an 8,000-person Concert Hall and Exhibition Complex in Rouen, France (2001); the Florida International University School of Architecture in Miami, Florida (2003); the Vacheron-Constantin Headquarters in Geneva (2004); the University of Cincinnati’s Richard E. Lindner Athletics Center in Cincinnati, Ohio (2006); the Limoges Concert Hall in Limoges, France (2007); BLUE, a 17-story residential tower on the Lower East Side of New York (2007); the ECAL School of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland (2007); the Acropolis Museum in Athens (2009); the Alesia Archeological Museum in France (2012), the Paris Zoo (2014), and the Exploratorium, a 400,00sf Museum of Industry and the City, in Tianjin, China.
Several partners and associates assist Bernard Tschumi, in particular, Véronique Descharrières in Paris (BTuA) Joel Rutten in New York (BTA), and Neo Zhong in Shanghai.
While a rigorous theoretical argument was developed over a period of years, theory is rarely the starting point of a project. It is rather the general framework. Practice can precede theory, much as theory can precede practice. Below is a rough approximation of our approach:
- Quickly diagram several alternative concepts, spatial configurations, or strategies. Then immediately leave them aside. If any of them are valid, they will reappear at a later stage.
- Take the program. Assign dimensions, places, and relationships; distinguish between generic and specific programmatic spaces; test alternatives. Do it quickly; be precise, but not necessarily detailed.
- Introduce circulation or vectors of movement, establish priorities in how the building will be used and experienced. Enhance sequences (test alternatives). Establish whether the envelope is unitary or broken down into two or more sub-envelopes in relation to the findings of steps 1 and 2. Look at material options.
- Test alternatives. If applicable, take advantage of the site constraints: zoning constraints, slope, height limitations, potential materials as per climate or local construction industry, but with a broad approach.
- Then, only then, begin conceptual work. Do not start with a form. Make a concept emerge, balancing steps 1 to 4. No form, please (unless it can become a generating concept). What is a concept? There is no answer to this. There can be no restriction to what a concept or overriding idea is. The concept must allow for the resolution of steps 1 to 4.
- Then, only then, let the image or the architecture emerge. Select final materials; architecture is the materialization of concepts. The image will emerge with energy and evidence. Sometimes the image is no image, if the concept calls for no image.
- As the project (concept) is developed, weaving into it all technical constraints and construction details, keep utmost clarity in mind. Never do anything for design’s sake, work only for concept’s sake. (Stay on concept the way one stays on message: Repeat, repeat, repeat. Edit, edit, edit.) Construction or budget constraints are good ways to clarify priorities.
- You may break rules, but never at the expense of concept.
Bernard Tschumi Architects
13 East 16 Street, third floor
New York, New York 10003
Bernard Tschumi FAIA, Architect, Director
Joel Rutten, Co-Director
Alissa Lopez Serfozo, Administration
Bernard Tschumi Architects is looking for model makers, renderers, and French-speaking designers. If you would like to send your resume for our files, please send to the New York or Paris Address according to your geographic preference. You can also email resumes to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. To ensure readability, please send resumes in PDF format and do not attach any large graphic files.
Website design: Project Projects
Backend implementation: CBH
Bernard Tschumi urbanistes Architectes
6 Rue Beaubourg
75004 Paris, France
Tel. [+33] 1 53 01 90 70
Fax. [+33] 1 53 01 90 79
Bernard Tschumi, Architecte, Directeur
Veronique Descharrières, Co-Directeur, Architecte, Associée BTuA
Emilie Bilan, Responsable Administratif
Merci d’envoyer votre CV suivant votre préférence géographique à l’adresse postale de Paris ou par email à email@example.com, ou à l’adresse postale de New York ou par email à firstname.lastname@example.org.