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New interpretation centre for Forbidden City garden designed by Selldorf
POSTED 01 Feb 2019 . BY Andy Knaggs
Projects like this...are at the core of our practice
– Annabelle Selldorf
The ongoing restoration of the Qianlong Garden – a part of Beijing’s iconic Forbidden City that has never been opened to the public – has reached a significant milestone, with the appointment of Selldorf Architects in New York, US, to design an Interpretation Center that will provide unique perspectives on the complex.

The Qianlong Garden was built by the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty between 1771 and 1776, to serve as part of his planned retirement complex following a 60-year reign. The private retreat has four courtyards, elaborate rockeries and 27 pavilions and structures, containing decoration and furnishings from one of the most extravagant periods in China’s history.

Having been left dormant since 1924, things moved forward when in 2004, the World Monuments Fund and the Palace Museum partnered to review the site and develop a plan for its conservation over a series of phases. The first structure completed was the conservation of Juanqinzhai (Studio of Exhaustion from Diligent Service) in 2008, while three other structures in the fourth courtyard, including Fuwangge (Belvedere of Viewing Achievements), were conserved and completed in 2016.

Restoration of the interior and exterior of buildings in the first, second and third courtyards is currently underway, and due to be finished in time for the 600th anniversary of the Forbidden City in 2020.

When completed, the public will have access to the Qianlong Garden via the new Interpretation Centre, located in a restored structure within the second courtyard. Selldorf’s design creates three distinct halls surrounding an open pavilion, and each hall will provide different information for visitors: on the 18th Century design and creation of the Qianlong Garden; on the conservation of the complex; and an open space with an unobstructed view of the third courtyard rockeries to allow peaceful contemplation.

Selldorf Architects’ principal Annabelle Selldorf is to work with exhibition curator Nancy Berliner on the contents of each hall, all designed to engage the senses through artefacts, videos and other didactic material.

"Projects like the new Interpretation Centre at the Qianlong Garden, that bring people together in a spirit of enquiry and inclusiveness, are at the core of our practice," said Annabelle Selldorf. "It has been a great pleasure and honour to work with the World Monuments Fund to create an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the Gardens and experience their beauty and wonder first-hand."
Fuwangge – after conservation Credit: WMF
Fuwangge – before conservation Credit: WMF
Juanqinzhai theatre room after conservation Credit: WMF
This building will house the new Interpretation Centre at Qianlong Garden Credit: WMF
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NEWS
New interpretation centre for Forbidden City garden designed by Selldorf
POSTED 01 Feb 2019 . BY Andy Knaggs
Projects like this...are at the core of our practice
– Annabelle Selldorf
The ongoing restoration of the Qianlong Garden – a part of Beijing’s iconic Forbidden City that has never been opened to the public – has reached a significant milestone, with the appointment of Selldorf Architects in New York, US, to design an Interpretation Center that will provide unique perspectives on the complex.

The Qianlong Garden was built by the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty between 1771 and 1776, to serve as part of his planned retirement complex following a 60-year reign. The private retreat has four courtyards, elaborate rockeries and 27 pavilions and structures, containing decoration and furnishings from one of the most extravagant periods in China’s history.

Having been left dormant since 1924, things moved forward when in 2004, the World Monuments Fund and the Palace Museum partnered to review the site and develop a plan for its conservation over a series of phases. The first structure completed was the conservation of Juanqinzhai (Studio of Exhaustion from Diligent Service) in 2008, while three other structures in the fourth courtyard, including Fuwangge (Belvedere of Viewing Achievements), were conserved and completed in 2016.

Restoration of the interior and exterior of buildings in the first, second and third courtyards is currently underway, and due to be finished in time for the 600th anniversary of the Forbidden City in 2020.

When completed, the public will have access to the Qianlong Garden via the new Interpretation Centre, located in a restored structure within the second courtyard. Selldorf’s design creates three distinct halls surrounding an open pavilion, and each hall will provide different information for visitors: on the 18th Century design and creation of the Qianlong Garden; on the conservation of the complex; and an open space with an unobstructed view of the third courtyard rockeries to allow peaceful contemplation.

Selldorf Architects’ principal Annabelle Selldorf is to work with exhibition curator Nancy Berliner on the contents of each hall, all designed to engage the senses through artefacts, videos and other didactic material.

"Projects like the new Interpretation Centre at the Qianlong Garden, that bring people together in a spirit of enquiry and inclusiveness, are at the core of our practice," said Annabelle Selldorf. "It has been a great pleasure and honour to work with the World Monuments Fund to create an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the Gardens and experience their beauty and wonder first-hand."
Fuwangge – after conservation Credit: WMF
Fuwangge – before conservation Credit: WMF
Juanqinzhai theatre room after conservation Credit: WMF
This building will house the new Interpretation Centre at Qianlong Garden Credit: WMF
RELATED STORIES
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The World Monuments Fund (WMF) is beginning to lay the groundwork for a new heritage conservation training programme after announcing plans last month to establish a £500,000 (US$648,000, €550,000) scheme for Syrian refugees to rebuild historic heritage sites.
Annabelle Selldorf to oversee major revamp of New York's Frick Collection art buildings


New York studio Selldorf Architects will lead a major upgrade and expansion of art museum and research institution The Frick Collection.
Architectural institute being set up in China's Forbidden City


The Palace Museum – housed in Beijing’s, Forbidden City – is to set up an architectural institute equipped for research, training and restoration on China’s ancient architecture.
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Red Raion - VR/5D Films Showreel 2016
Red Raion is the first made-in-Italy VR/5D movie production company, for your most advanced theaters and simulators. Enjoy some samples from their movies produced in 2016! Find out more...
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Red Raion: Meet the Team - Introduction – Red Raion
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+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

18 Jun 2019

Next steps for the UK tourism industry post Brexit: skills, growth and delivering a sector deal

Central London, United Kingdom
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BALPPA Summer Conference 2019

The Balmer Lawn Hotel and Carey’s Manor Hotel, New Forest, United Kingdom
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