MOCAPE by Coop Himmelb(l)au, an eye-catching shimmering landmark in Shenzhen

AI Creative Challenge 4.0_ Winner01

Become A Digital Member

Subscribe only for €3.99 per month.
Cancel anytime!


The Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) is located within the Futian Cultural District, which is Shenzhen‘s new urban center. It serves as both a cultural hub and a venue for architectural exhibitions. The MOCAPE is a combination of two separate yet interconnected institutions: the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Planning Exhibition (PE). The lobby, multifunctional display halls, auditorium, meeting rooms, and service areas are all utilized simultaneously.

Both museums are conceived as distinct entities, emphasizing their own functional and artistic requirements before being integrated into a monolithic body encircled by a multipurpose exterior. This translucent facade, combined with a smart internal lighting design, allows for a clear view of the common entrance and transitional regions between the buildings. On the inside, visitors have an unobstructed view of the city, as if they are in a softly shaded outdoor space, which is accentuated by 6 to 17-meter-high, entirely open, and column-free exhibition rooms.


Visitors ascend to the main level beyond the entrance area between the museums via ramps and escalators and enter the “Plaza,” which acts as a point of departure for museum tours. The Plaza provides access to cultural event rooms, a multi-functional hall, various auditoriums, and a library.

The Plaza’s core orientation and access element is a silvery, shimmering, and softly distorted “Cloud.” The Cloud houses numerous public services on several floors, including a café, a book store, and a museum store, and it connects the exhibition rooms of both museums by bridges and ramps. The Cloud, with its curving surface, expands into the area, symbolizing the concept of two museums under one roof.


The MOCAPE monolith completes the eastern portion of the Futian Cultural District, filling the last gap between the “Youth Activity Hall” (YAH) to the north and the opera-library complex to the south. The main floor of the MOCAPE, like other buildings in this district, is 10 meters above ground level and forms a stage-like platform that works as a uniting feature with the nearby structures.

The outer cover is constructed of natural stone louvers, and the actual climatic envelope is built of insulated glass. These parts combine to generate a dynamic surface that is physically independent of the museum buildings’ mounting system. The two museums, a vertical access and entertainment element (Cloud), the public Plaza, and the versatile base are all encased by this utilitarian exterior.


The technical building equipment is intended to lower the overall requirement for external energy sources: Pollution-free systems and facilities utilise renewable energy sources such as solar and geothermal energy (with a groundwater cooling system), and only energy-efficient systems have been deployed. The museum’s roof filters daylight into the exhibition rooms, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

The MOCAPE is an architectural landmark as well as an ecological and environmentally beneficial benchmark project, thanks to its mix of cutting-edge technology components, a small building volume, thermal insulation, and optimal solar shading.

Project Info

Architects: Coop Himmelb(l)au
Area: 80000 sqm
Year: 2016
Photographs:Duccio Malagamba
Lighting Design: AG Licht
Structural Engineering: B+G Ingenieure Bollinger + Grohmann GmbH
Project Team: Jessie Castro, Jessie Chen, Jasmin Dieterle, Luis Ferreira, Peter Grell, Paul Hoszowsky, Dimitar Ivanov, Ivana Jug, Zhu Yuang Kang, Alexander Karaivanov, Nam La-Chi, Rodelle Lee, Feng Lei, Megan Lepp, Samuel Liew, Thomas Margaretha, Jens Mehlan, Ivo de Nooijer, Reinhard Platzl, Vincenzo Possenti, Pete Rose, Ana Santos, Jutta Schädler, Günther Weber, Chen Yue
Digital Project Team: Angus Schoenberger, Matt Kirkham, Jasmin Dieterle, Jonathan Asher, Jan Brosch
Local Architect: HSArchitects
Mechanical Engineering: Reinhold Bacher
Cost Management: Davis Langdon & Seah
Design Principal: Wolf D. Prix
Project Partner: Markus Prossnigg
Design Architects: Quirin Krumbholz, Jörg Hugo, Mona Bayr
Project Architects: Angus Schoenberger, Veronika Janovska, Tyler Bornstein
Project Coordination: Xinyu Wan
City: Shenzhen Shi
Country: China

Share with a friend:

Learn about parametric and computational from the online courses at the PAACADEMY:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become A Digital Member

Subscribe only for €3.99 per month. Cancel anytime!

Weekly Newsletter in Your Inbox

Explore More

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter