As part of efforts to support Tujia culture and to commemorate the local ethnic minority living in poverty, the government of Tujia and the villagers have collaborated on the vision of the Chinese Tujia Pan-Museum. This ambitious project located in the extremely isolated and hilly plain of Xuanen County in Tujia Autonomous Region of Hubei Province, China, led by Li Baofeng and her team from Huazhong University of Science and Technology serves as an epitome of architectural creativity and societal integration.

The museum is located across an area of 30000 sq m, with main and secondary tourist centres, Moxiaolou, Moke Bridge, Dixian Bridge, Tujia Culture Exhibition Center, research dormitories, and classrooms. Built with respect to recognition of the topographical features of the region, the design blends in perfectly, creating a landscape that retreats layer by layer to conform to the terrain.

Tujia Pan-Museum exterior with wooden architecture and glulam construction

Architecturally, the museum pays respect to Tujia’s cultural features while promoting modern design concepts. By using Indigenous materials and building construction techniques, including growing wood and factory-made glulam, the museum incorporates energy-efficient practices but also enhances traditional themes and craftsmanship.

Compared to other traditional or architectural museums, there were several difficulties in designing the Tujia Pan-Museum, mainly because of its form. To tackle these challenges, the design team incorporated sophisticated digital technologies and had support from robotics professionals. This approach not only guaranteed the efficient assembly of the parts but also highlighted the project’s goal and commitment towards the delivery of quality construction work and accuracy.

"Traditional Tujia architecture blended with modern design concepts

Since its inception, the Chinese Tujia Pan Museum has become a cultural mark because of its impact on society and contribution to the economy. This initiative is both cultural and commercial; it serves not only to promote and maintain Tujia culture but also establish a standard for development and community participation in the area. Thus, the Tujia Pan-Museum serves as a celebration of the progress which resulted in the merging of the past and the future and fostering pride and prosperity among local residents.

Project Info

Project: Chinese Tujia Pan-Museum Complex
Architects: The Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST)
Lead Architect: Li Baofeng
Design Team: Xuejing Zhu, Qingyuan Yang, Shun Wan, Han Yuan, Pengpeng Yang, Xinqi Wang, Zhiyu Yang, Fawen Zhu, Ruifang Zhang, Ye Cao, Ziling Wang, Zirui Pang, Rui Zhao, and Shiwei Zhang
Design Partners: Jing Huang, Tao Jiang, Zhiguang Yu, Tong Wang, Zhonghua Yao, Chuanying Yin, Ben Zhang, Changshun Xu, Lian He, Faliang Shen, Xiaofang Zhang, Peng Yang, Jianye Xie, Ting Chen, Guoting Yin, Xuelai Lu, Anfu Shen, and Rong Wang
Client: Kun Wang, Chinese Tujia Pan-Museum
Photographers: Yilong Zhao

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