Dutch architects MVRDV have won the International competition for designing China's comic and animation museum. MVRDV have a very unique style of architecture that merges philanthropy with a desire for a better future.
In the world of animation and comics there are no limits. The ever increasing popularity of cartoons shows peoples desires for momentary lapses from reality. For a small moment in time you can conjure up dreams of talking pandas and fighting animals with magical powers.
To understand the importance of animation and comics in China, and primarily in the Eastern world, you have to really understand why it is people become so engaged and engrossed in them. Japan created Anime and Manga which are hugely popular worldwide (just look at the global success and profits made from Pokemon) and therefore China ,being relatively close neighbours, have taken these characters to heart. They are embedded into everyday culture and prove to be not only popular for children but have a huge adult following also.
Interior view of the interactive exhibition space
MVRDV have capitalised on this request for a sanctuary for the young and the comic geeks to have an experience that far beats anything that could come from a DVD or weekly comic. The image above shows the interactive exhibition space which makes up one of the 6 interior zones. This space incorporates state of the art technology to create an immersive experience. The pathfinding is made easy by elevated platforms that take you from one room to the next and widen at points of interest (like the 3D projection of Optimus Prime above) to allow for larger groups of visitors to stop and enjoy the attraction.
Comic book library that leads into the interactive zone.
The importance of comics is the key to the ethos of this project. Many have a disregard for comics and see them as a means of entertainment rather than literature that should have any relevance. However in a market that sees 75 million of these comics sold in America alone (www.comichron.com) they cannot merely be deemed as unimportant literature. The comic book library embraces these artworks as if they were on par with a Charles Dickens classic and in my opinion rightly so.
Interior view of the entrance area looking into the different zones.
The museum creates a database of comics and animations that will educate and excite the generations to come. The futuristic exterior, that looks like Godzilla has left some of his eggs in the middle of an urban regeneration scheme, matched with an equally futuristic interior proves to be currently very popular. However I question the longevity of such a design and whether or not politicians are genuinely interested in statement architecture or are just looking for another 'Bilbao effect'. Time will tell.