Queensland company wins design pitch for China Maritime Museum

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Cox Rayner Architects, the Queensland practice of the Cox Architecture group, have won an international architecture competition to design this significant national Chinese project.

It is the first national public building competition in China ever won by a Queensland architecture practice, and only the second by an Australian practice (the Beijing ‘Water Cube’).

The design put forward by Cox Rayner was informed by structural knowledge gained from Queensland projects such as the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and the One One One (111) Eagle Street Tower.

From some 80 worldwide architects, eight were selected to compete, with three chosen as finalists.

The international standing of the competition attracted many of the world’s foremost architects such as Zaha Hadid (UK), Stephen Holl (USA), Preston Scott Cohen (USA), GMP (Germany) and EMBT (Spain).

The competition took six months of gruelling effort over its two stages, including several interim presentations in China to gain progressive feedback and to refine the schemes.

The three finalists were Cox Rayner, EMBT (Miralles-Tagliabue) of Spain, and the South China Institute of Technology. The Cox Rayner scheme was unanimously selected by the 10 senior judges.

The Museum is to be developed in Tianjin, China’s fourth largest city (22 million), and the major port city for northern China. It is about 100 kilometres east of Beijing.

The Museum is situated on a bay with a large parkland forming part of the project. It will be 80,000 square metres and construction cost is estimated at AUD $290 million. Exhibition fitout is to be another AUD $80 million.

It will employ at least 20 architects (additional to the practice’s current 50) in Queensland. It will enable employment of other Queensland consultancies from engineering through to landscape architecture.

The design was informed by structural knowledge gained from Queensland projects undertaken with Arup engineers, such as the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and the One One One Eagle Street Tower.

This was important as the Government wishes to expedite the delivery with piling due to start, amazingly, in July this year with completion at the end of 2015.

A further benefit to Queensland is that the win could elevate the status of other Queensland architects and engineers in China, opening the door for future major project work.

'The museum will be 80,000 square metres, with construction expected to cost $290 million and the final product will be on show to the world,' he said.

'This is the first national public building competition in China to be won by a Queensland architecture practice and only the second by an Australian firm, after the Olympic swimming stadium.

'It can only be positive for Queensland and will hopefully lead to more businesses here being considered for work in China and elsewhere in the world.

'As well as the added exposure it will bring, Cox Rayner will employ an additional 20 architects to complete the project.'

More at www.coxarchitecture.com.au