Steven Holl Architects announced that the firm has won a competition to design the Culture and Art Center of Qingdao, a port city on China’s east coast halfway between Beijing and Shanghai, and due west of South Korea. In the competition-winning proposal, the center comprises a ‘Light Loop’—a winding, 22-meter (72-foot) wide, enclosed gallery path that contains four museums—and ‘Art Islands,’ or Yishudao, which house larger public programs within the museum campus. In a video introducing the proposal, Steven Holl describes a connection between the Light Loop and Qingdao’s recently completed 26.7-kilometer (16.6-mile) Jiaozhou Bay Bridge (also known as the Qingdao Haiwan Bay Bridge), which was designed by Shandong Gausu Group: “The project starts with a very unique connection to Qingdao, and the idea of actually connecting to the morphology of the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, the world’s longest bridge over water. It inspires the possibility of this whole project to become related to that linear idea in the form of a light loop.”

The four museums included in the 2 million-square-foot Culture and Art Center are a Modern Art Museum, a Classic Arts Museum, a Public Arts Museum, and a Performing Arts & Cinema Center. Each museum is housed within the tubelike structure of the Light Loop, which is raised above water gardens and landscaped public areas. Two rows of galleries within the tube receive daylight from above and from the sides through openings specific to the type of gallery; photovoltaics mounted between skylights will gather 80 percent of the energy required by the museum. The Light Loop snakes through a hotel and an administrative office building also included in the center’s campus, and will be clad in sanded marine-grade aluminum.

For more images and information on the Culture and Art Center of Qingdao, visit ARCHITECT's Project Gallery.

For more work by Steven Holl Architects, visit ARCHITECT's Firm Profiles.

Watch the full video here: