Design Development in progress
China Silk Embroidery Art Museum (CSEAM) is located on the west side of old Suzhou city. Within the complex lie the famous UNESCO Garden of Surrounding Beauty and Wang Ao Temple. With the exception of a few large scale public buildings, the surrounding context is primarily residential buildings of Suzhou's style. The Garden of Surrounding Beauty is a very famous small garden; it’s most impressive feature being a unique rock-scape. Silk embroidery is a treasured art of Chinese culture. The four major styles of embroidery are Suzhou style, Hunan style, Canton style, and Sichuan style.
While respecting the existing historical context and layout of the famous Unesco complex, CSEAM's design for the new museum differentiates architectural volumes in relationship to programmatic functions. The design places exhibitions to the Southeast of the site while locating reception functions to the west. Visitors are initially led to a contemporary glass reception pavilion after entering a formal gate. Within the entrance pavilion, visitors turn east to the galleries, commencing a sequence of exhibitions and displays. Along the journey visitors are introduced to historical artifacts and masterpieces pertaining to embroidery intertwined with actual display of the sequential steps of embroidery production, from embroidery design, silk dying, weaving, and mounting for display.
CSEAM's design takes full advantage of the UNESCO garden by linking small scale volumes and landscape to the shared wall. The design not only continues the landscape of the Garden of Surrounding Beauty, but further connects its spaces through landscape elements and small courtyards. Accordingly, spaces fluctuate through harmonic oppositions, such as loose space versus tight space and small scale versus large scale. Both embroidery exhibitions and production displays are strongly connected within the museum experience. Embroidery studios utilize indirect lighting, while visitors' corridors are connect with courtyards that abundantly supply day lighting. The proposed circulation flows enrich the museum visitor's experience by weaving the craft production with the precious embroidery treasures, ultimately reflecting many of the spatial principals found in Suzhou gardens and Suzhou embroidery.