An existing structure in the Qianlong Garden that will be transformed into a interpretation center.
Courtesy World Monuments Fund An existing structure in the Qianlong Garden that will be transformed into a interpretation center.

The New York–based nonprofit World Monuments Fund (WMF) has announced that New York firm Selldorf Architects will design an interpretation center for the Qianlong Garden in Beijing's Forbidden City—once an imperial palace compound dating back to the 1400s—as part of an ongoing conservation effort with the palace's steward, the Palace Museum. This will be the first time the garden is open to the public.

“Projects like the new interpretation center at the Qianlong Garden, that bring people together in a spirit of inquiry and inclusiveness, are at the core of our practice,” said Selldorf principal and founder Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA, in a press release.

The interpretation center—also referenced as a visitor center—will occupy a restored courtyard structure within the garden with a central pavilion and three surrounding halls. The halls will house exhibition areas, a space dedicated to highlighting the palace's conservation efforts, and a seating area for viewing the garden.

Courtesy World Monuments Fund

“Annabelle’s talent and vision paired with her passion for architecture and history are sure to produce an unforgettable experience for visitors to the Qianlong Garden," said WMF interim CEO Lisa Ackerman in the same release.

The Qianlong Garden occupies almost 2 acres of the Forbidden City and was constructed as a retirement complex for the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty in the 1770s.

Construction is expected to begin late this year and be completed in 2020.

Courtesy World Monuments Fund