National Maritime Museum of China

Tianjin, China

This project won the international competition to design China’s new National Maritime Museum to be located in the port city of Tianjin close to Beijing. The competition was held over 6 months in three stages, each unusually providing jury feedback to those competitors selected to progress.

The design comprises five hall structures radiating out to the port harbour and converging in a central ‘Preface Hall’. Functionally, the idea is to bring all visitors up a rampart to an elevated level and access from there either of two split levels which occupy each hall. This strategy enabled the collections and operational centre of the museum to be located immediately under the Preface Hall with direct lower level access into each hall.

The halls are sequentially from west to east a Hall of Nature and Oceans, World Maritime Civilisation Hall, Chinese Marine Culture Hall and Historic Vessel Hall. A Temporary Exhibition Hall projects forward of these and a fifth hall to the west accommodates public education, business, research and curatorial facilities. The museum is fronted by a ‘maritime plaza’ where maritime re-enactments and other open air events are intended to actively engage the museum with the city. It is marked by an observation tower also acting as the museum’s energy plant.

The architecture is expressive of multiple interpretations (such as an open hand, anemone, corals, vessels in port), not as obvious metaphors, but as enticements for visitation and exploration of a multifaceted set of experiences within.

  • Awards
  • Technical Information
  • Cox Team

World Future Project of the Year, World Architecture Festival Singapore 2013

Future Projects Competition entries Category Winner, World Architecture Festival Singapore 2013

Chinese Government and Tianjin Municipality
Project Status
In Progress, 2013-Current
Estimated Completion 2018
Key Consultants
Tianjin Architecture and Design Institute, Arup
Gross Floor Area
Alex Leese
Michael Bailey
Troy Rafton
Leon McBride
Julian Farrell
Belinda Williamson
Megan MacKenzie