Building to be located directly opposite practice’s 2010 Seed Cathedral

Heatherwick Studio has revealed the design of an exhibition hall under construction on Shangai’s West Bund waterfront.

The West Bund Orbit building is located in the centre of the new financial hub in Xuhui District.

Its statement facade is designed to resemble a series of interwoven ribbons, forming a set of publicly accessible staircases, bridges and terraces leading to a rooftop garden.

Inside is an exhibition hall on the ground floor and ancillary rooms above, with a perimeter gallery surrounding the building with large windows allowing views into the interior.

The facade design was inspired by the form of traditional Chinese moon bridges, very highly arched ornamental bridges which have been built in China since the 12th century.

Heatherwick Studio said the design was a futuristic interpretation of the bridges, giving the impression that the building was in constant rotational motion.

The practice’s group leader Neil Hubbard said it was an exhibition hall designed to be “explored and experienced”. 

“Rather than merely boxing up a gallery within an ornamental façade, the Orbit’s appearance will be animated by the people who visit it. 

“Its location on the bend of the river means it can be a real beacon for the area, drawing people in not just for the events it hosts, but the whole of Shanghai West Bund.”

The building is located directly opposite the site of the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, where Heatherwick Studio designed the Seed Cathedral

The structure was visited by more than 8 million people during the Expo and won the gold medal for pavilion design.