Steven Holl Architects presents two films on the Sifang Art Museum

Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Spirit of Space has created two short films on the Sifang Art Museum, which opened in November 2013 in Nanjing, China.

The film series explores the changing perspectives as visitors move through the new Sifang Art Museum, from the lush green landscape of the Pearl Spring near Nanjing, through the Museum’s entry court and lower gallery, to its floating upper gallery. The film, A Conversation with Steven Holl, presents Steven Holl on site, as he explains the design concept for the new building.

Designed by Steven Holl with Li Hu, the Sifang Art Museum explores the shifting viewpoints, layers of space, and expanses of mist and water, which characterize the deep alternating spatial mysteries of the composition of Chinese painting. The museum is formed by a “field” of parallel perspective spaces and garden walls in black bamboo-formed concrete over which a light “figure” hovers. The straight passages on the ground level gradually turn into the winding passage of the gallery above. Suspended high in the air, the upper gallery unwraps in a clockwise turning sequence and culminates at “in-position” viewing of the city of Nanjing in the distance. This visual axis creates a link back to the great Ming Dynasty capital city.

The courtyard is paved in recycled Old Hutong bricks from the destroyed courtyards in the center of Nanjing. Limiting the colors of the museum to black and white connects it to ancient Chinese paintings, but also gives a background to feature the colors and textures of the artwork and architecture exhibited within. Bamboo, previously growing on the site, has been used in bamboo-formed concrete, with a black penetrating stain. The museum is heated and cooled by geothermal wells, and features a storm water recycling system.

The Sifang Art Museum films are the fourth collaboration for project films of Steven Holl Architects with Spirit of Space. The films are available on Vimeo through the links below: and

For more films on Steven Holl Architects, visit
For more films by Spirit of Space, visit