ARCHITECT：PEI PARTNERSHIP ARCHITECTS
Completed in 2006, Suzhou Museum exists as one of the most comprehensively and intricately designed museums worldwide. It should come as no surprise then that the architect at the helm of its design is I. M. Pei.
Perhaps Pei’s most widely recognisable architectural feat is the Louvre's redesign in 1989. The entrance’s strong and sophisticated glass composition was described by Pei as a bridge between architectural traditions and architecture of today.
Indeed, it seems fitting that Pei was entrusted to design Suzhou Museum, intended as a new exhibition space within the traditional Zhong Wang Fu palace complex.
Described as “Chinese style with innovation, Suzhou style with creativity," by Lin Bin from the then Pei Partnership Architects, the design itself educates visitors about the history and cultural identity of the Suzhou region.
Novas up for the challenge
The site is astonishingly complex, covering over 10,700 square meters across a 3–sectional layout. The test for Novas was to deliver premium Novas Architectural Doorware products to exact specification within time constraints to ensure smooth processes across such an involved and prestigious project.
“Knowing the importance of a Pei design, we dedicated a team to collaborate with key stakeholders to ensure the architectural vision for our products was realised,” says Todd Foster, Novas Managing Director.
A curated collection of Novas Architectural Doorware was selected to achieve optimal sophistication and strength — perfectly understated, yet perfectly functional for the museum’s 1 million annual visitors.
Suzhou Museum’s prestige isn’t lost on the Novas team, well aware of their input in the 2013 Chinese Museum Association’s ‘Most Creative Museum’ award winner.
“Suzhou has been an important and successful region for Novas, and being involved in this iconic project was extremely rewarding,” says Todd.
Working towards a collective vision
The building’s design is a reflection of the rich architectural vernacular from the Suzhou region, as evidenced by its whitewashed stone walls, clay tile roofs, and intricately detailed garden architecture. Remaining true to form though, Pei has reinterpreted these elements as contemporary statements that look towards the future of modern Chinese architecture.
Understanding this direction and vision, Novas was able to deliver products that match the project’s overall dedication to intricate detailing and fine tuning.
“Every decision is purposeful in a Pei design, so we knew that our Architectural Doorware had its own specific role to play, and we worked meticulously to deliver this,” Todd recollects.
The careful orchestration of designs, suppliers, products and cultural identity undoubtedly contributed to the grandeur of Suzhou Museum. Novas is humbled to have worked alongside Pei and his associates to help produce a truly spectacular, multi-faceted and culturally imperative building.
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