The City as Museum


Amsterdam, famous for its diversity in the arts, is characterized by numerous islands divided by rivers, thus one might say that various museums and places of life are here connected by bridges.

Endowed with innumerable art scenes, the city itself is a giant museum and the arch bridges are both the channels to its charm and a unique gallery of beauty where citizens walk, drive, row and perform. Astonished by this outstanding chemistry between the city and the bridge, we believe Amsterdam is a great example of the use of display of the bridge within city.

Applied to the design of the project, the use of the basic arch structure enables the basic function of bridge, while the combination and innovation create a special landscape of city where people enjoy trolling, rowing, talking and resting. Every line of the bridge becomes a perfect arc in this picture of city life, in which even a walk is not usual any more.


Who influences you graphically?

This is difficult to determine because I like to learn and observe a varietry of approaches from different schools. However, as the project was based in Amsterdam I drew inspiration from the oil paintings of figures as Vermeer and Rembrandt.

What prompted the project?

A pivotal aspect was Van Gogh and my admiration for his work, elements which drew me to Amsterdam and the notion of city museum.

Would you be interested in exploring this provocation further? in other cities etc?

I woul be particularly interested in exploring this further within a Chinese urban context.

Numerous texts have explored the notion of the city as museum, were there any particular projects/texts that inspired and helped you develop your project?

OMA’s huge project with an area of 180,000 square meters in the China National Museum of Fine Arts competition was for me very interesting. I was stimulated by Rem Koolhaas’ interpretation of this typology no longer a museum but rather as a miniature city. Because of the introduction of the concept of the city, the museum’s original enfilade principle is broken, and the inherent form of the museum completely changes. Using a city’s order or space experience to design a museum, I think creates some very interesting possibilities and situations.

In this project, I tried to integrate the spatial transformation with traffic flow in this architecture, which is both a bridge and an art museum, to maximize the significance of the bridge property in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, whether it is working in daily life, or participating in artistic activities, or the experience of tourists, it is the continuous relationship between the bridges. This is a unique space experience in this city.

What is your take on the contemporary state of museums? Where do you see the future of this institution?

I see the contemporary museum as an exhibition venue where the visitor and his experience are absolutely controlled. In my opinion, the museum should be at least fully open. It should not be just an exhibition hall but rather it should also be a city’s public activity venue and be able to gather the icitizens.

What should the contemporary museum do? What is its role within contemporary culture and its relation to the city?

Museums should, in addition to being archives, serve the city actively.