Kevin Daly Architects

Kevin Daly Architects

Los Angeles, CA | New York, NY


Center for Science and Technology

With its flowing canals and world heritage designated classical gardens, Suzhou in China is defined by the role landscape plays in its history as well as in the everyday life of the city. In this regard, a new “Museum in the Park” must be reconsidered to serve the unique nature of Suzhou. KDA proposed a design for the Suzhou Science & Technology Museum that would reflect what the gardens in Suzhou have always been: a source of inspiration and enlightenment. Anchoring the northern edge of Shishan Park, the Suzhou Museum of Science and Technology is bound by Jinshan Road, Lion Mountain, a newly reconstructed lake and the transit plaza. It is an active landscape setting at the intersection of city and nature.  

KDA’s design for the new Museum integrated landscape strategies as the primary means of architectural form making: a large park surface is pressed into piers to provide structural support and zones of planting. The topographic form encourages the park to continue over the entire building surface while also providing views of the surrounding mountain and lake. Seen from above, the dynamic surface is like another planet: expansive, abstract, and geometric, taking on characteristics of planetary craters.

The museum’s roof responds to the park’s Ring Road, is landscaped to become an extension of the park, and is traversed by walking paths connecting the park with the city. The bamboo gardens in the sunken courtyards help connect the underground interior spaces to the surrounding park above. The larger program areas, including the Children’s Science Park, Temporary and Permanent Exhibitions and the Industrial pavilion, are distributed across the site. The four theaters provide multimedia accessory spaces for exhibition zones and can be accessed by the public even when the museum is closed. The activity, auxiliary, and back of house programs, in contrast, serve the museum’s more functional requirements. Space is located on SE 8th Street, connecting it to the 8th Street Market and corporate offices.

A winding path links the housing to the Razorback Greenway, supporting cycling as a viable transportation option. Clusters of housing are oriented, some off axis, to prioritize open space and form natural neighborhoods that encourage socializing, community building and connections among residents. This pinwheel arrangement for the housing clusters has additional benefits. First, by separating the mass of each building (unlike a typical low rise courtyard building), sunlight increases on multiple exposures and natural ventilation reaches several sides of each unit. Second, the garden level units can now slide outward to create private terraces for the upper level units. Third, by fabricating custom covered walkways, each with a unique but complimentary profile, the design encourages housing clusters, minimizes circulation, and shapes a third outdoor space.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Shishan, CN
Additional Credits: renderings by Kilograph