Lianzhou, a small city located in the northern, mountain area of Guangdong, has witnessed a miraculous 13 consecutive years of Lianzhou International Photography Festival, one of the most important photographic art events in China.
The construction of the photography museum is considered as the generator of the old downtown’s revitalisation plan, and at the same time, a tribute to the city’s past. Lianzhou Museum of Photography (LMP) was chosen to be built on South Zhongshan Road, which local people cordially called "Old Street", a place full of local traditions and memories. The original site is an old candy warehouse which has been the main venue for the last 12 photo festivals.
LMP is comprised of two interlocking buildings, one preserved an existing 3-story concrete-frame building, and another a U-shape new building constructed on the spot of two demolished wooden structure buildings. A composed façade-roof canopy of the new building shapes the roof skyline of the museum, fully respecting the urban fabric of the old town. Below the successively folded slopes of the canopy area series of galleries, inter-linked by outdoor corridors, and staircases, with exhibitions and public events taking place under one roof. The preserved building and the new U-shape extension create a rich vertical variation of the interior of the building. The U-shape gap garden in-between keeps a distance and necessary contrast between the two structures.
Almost all of the construction materials are local. The exterior surface of the continuous façade-roof canopy is composed of gray shingles collected from demolished old houses in urban and rural areas nearby, mixed with local dark schist called the West Bank stone, which is also used on the ground floor and the supporting walls at the basement level.
A collection of wooden windows collected from the demolished warehouse building has been implanted on the canopy structure. Facades of newly constructed exhibition boxes, a feature of traditional “white iron” (galvanised steel) skin mixed with old gray brick wall segments, inter-connected with the concrete corridors and staircases armed with black steel railing panels. T
The only non-local industrial product: delicate, soft and translucent PVC corrugated tiles, are used on the inner surface of the thick and rustic façade-roof canopy. It brings a hint of warmth to the neutral-colour architectural background (a basic requirement for photographic presentations) and, with LED lighting behind, provides a gentle soft light to the entire sheltered and even indoor exhibition spaces.
Architects | O-office Architects, Shenzhen, China
Location | Lianzhou, Qingyuan, Guangdong, China
Technical info | PVC corrugated tile
Picture credits | Chaos Z, Chen Xiaotie