September-October 2011 | NBBJ Shanghai
Xiamen is a city of 5 million on the southeast coast of the People’s Republic of China. The
city was a treaty port in the 19th century and one of the four original Special Economic Zones opened to foreign investment and trade in the early 1980s. Xiamen is a prosperous and clean city with a subtropical climate, endowed many cultural institutions, and benefi ting from the continuing development of economic ties with nearby Taiwain. Xiamen has a rich musical heritage. Our site is only located only 1km (by ferry) from the pedestrian-only Gulanyu Islet, a former foreign concession called “Piano Island” by locals. The design of “Piano Quay” is inspired by this proximity. The forms make superficial reference to piano keys (In China, metaphoric content is often essential to government approval), and the plan striations refer to the docks and piers of a busy shipping port.