Founded by British architect David Chipperfield in 1984, this multi-award winning practice has gathered global acclaim for its myriad cultural projects around the world. Although the studio’s flagship HQ is located in London, nowadays the practice works evenly across different territories, with busy outposts in Berlin and Milan, as well as China

The studio’s Shanghai office was established in 2005, when David Chipperfield Architects was commissioned to design the Liangzhu Museum and Ninetree Village in Hangzhou – a key project commencing at a time when China was in a pre-2006 Beijing Olympic Games high and on an incredible rise within the global cultural scene. 

Ninetree Village. © Christian Richters
Ninetree Village. © Christian Richters

Since then, Chipperfield’s work in China has steadily grown, spanning residential work such as the Xixi Wetland Estate, a multilayered complex on the outskirts of Hangzhou, and cultural projects such as the recently opened West Bund Museum in Shanghai. The latter, an elegant, high-profile complex, will host the Pompidou Centre’s first Chinese base for the next five years. Set on an industrial chunk of the city that is slowly being transformed into a key cultural hub, it forms part of a critical phase in Shanghai’s master-planning vision. 

Chipperfield, who has been involved in the debate about the city’s development for more than a decade, admits to being both challenged and inspired by the country’s growth: ‘China is a phenomenon. It’s difficult as an outsider to really understand China. But as an architect, the cultural questions are more to do with the dialogue with the client and the authorities,’ he says. ‘On the other hand, architecture should try to find intuitive solutions to answer the needs of society.’§

David Chipperfield