Nanjing Yangtze Bridge, completed in the year of 1968, is of great significance in Chinese bridge history as it is the first double-decked railway and highway combined one designed and built by Chinese. The bridgehead designed by academician Zhong Xunzheng in the late 1960s is known as a classic work in Chinese modern architecture history.
A maiden closed overhaul for the highway of the bridge was held by related department from Oct. 2016. Meanwhile, the bridge itself was restored as a cultural relics protection units while the conservation and renovation of the bridgehead was specially symbolic significance.
During the repairing，Professor Lu Andongfrom Nanjing University integrated various social resources to initiated aseries of activities related to the design of the bridge. These activities includedA collection of memories of the Yangtze Bridge and the planning of Bridge Park.The exhibition design of bridgehead memorial hall which came into play one ofthe most important part.
The Nanjing Yangtze Bridge memorial hall,as the first memorial dedicated to display the historical background andheritage of the bridge, is set up on the ground floor of thesouth bridgehead located in the Bridge Park on the south bank of YangtzeRiver.
The major function of the bridgehead isin fact as two tubular structures for the sides vertical traffic from thehighway of the bridge down to the bridge park on the bank. The interior spaceof the bridgehead comprises the tubes within stairs and elevators on both sidesand the memorial hall in the middle.
Between the two traffic tubes there arefittingly four piers connecting the steel structure of the main bridge and theconcrete structure of the approach bridge. The very four piers have defined a loftyspace which consist of the monumental scale of the central hall(b) and an upperdark-story below the railway-deck of the bridge. The memorial hall has used theground space including the central hall, the two entrance poches on the ground floorin the sides traffic tubes, and as well as the auxiliary space for reception undera viewing platform behind the hall and the traffic tubes. Exhibition for thememorial hall, designed by a cooperation between FANAF and LanD Studio, is displayedmainly in the central hall and the sides entrance porches.
The repair work of the bridgehead whichas much as possible restore the exterior and interior appearance of the originarchitecturebased on authenticity, preceded the interior design ofmemorial hall. The exhibition design established on the interior space of therestored cultural relics must ensure the“minimum intervention”to the “site”. The interiorand display however, should contribute to the integrating of historical spaceand atmosphere as well as the maintenance of distinguishable characteristics.
According to the visiting motion line,we set the order of exhibition space: the east entrance poche (a), the centralhall (b), the west entrance poche (c), and finally the north auxiliary space.
One would felt the changes of space andatmosphere since the scale of the space varies greatly among the central hall theentrance poches. Display of the exhibition should respond to the differentspatial scale and mood while combine the several exhibition rooms.
On the other hand, the contents of theexhibition are consisted with massive traditional objects of daily life and laborwork corresponding to the body measure and human behavior. Our design was confrontedwith the problem of whether to suitably present the exhibits relate to humanscale in a soaring and lofty space.
We have finally come up with theinterior design which transit the different scale among the exhibition roomsand naturally integrate the grand central hall with the dwarfish exhibits bycontrolling the measurement, applicating proper materials and refining thebuilding details.
The design attempts to strengthen the continuity and relevance between the exhibition facilities and the original space, as well as between the exhibition facilities in different spaces by connecting the scale of exhibition facilities with the spatial elements and component scales of the bridgehead building itself.
On the façade of the bridgehead, thereis a reference line started from the canopy upon the gate of the east entrancepoche, along with the upper edge of beam of central hall gate, to the canopy ofthe west poche. The refence line could also be noticed from inner space by the secondparting line up from the skirting line. Therefore,the height is regarded as a horizontalcontrol reference for the interior.
In the east and west entrance poches,the locating and sizing of the display cases in exhibition walls refer to thegate and windows on the façade.
In the central hall, all the displayitems seem minuscule comparing to the very large space. Hence we abolished the generalvertical interface to display and built several open cabinets with niche spacesto define the ergonomic exhibition space. Visitors would only slightly bow whenenjoying an exhibit and immersion increases.
Our material of exhibition facilities shallgive out both coordination and contrast with the site on different levels throughthe conduct of vision and touch.
In the eastern entrance poche, thesurfaces of the exhibition wall and showcases are finished with light grey feltplates which harmonizes with the original terrazzo interior wall in sense of colorwhile contrast the terrazzo in sense of touch. The light grey felt plates also interactwith the similar colored artificial stone from the doors and windows set on thefaçade. As a whole，thegrey tone brings out the major exhibition items: three pieces of brown wooden bas-relief.
The south wall of the central hall integratesthe door beam by continuing the light grey felt from east entrance poche. Either end of the south wall extends northwardto form the side cabinet of the hall. The material of the display herein has changedto a light-colored vacuum slab in similar color to that of the felt board, revealingthe upgrade of the spatial commemoration. The main material of the inner niche space of the cabinets is brown wood veneerwhich matches the solemnity of the hall and echoes the wooden embossed plate inthe eastern entrance poche.
The exhibition route extends to the westentrance poche. However, the light-colored material converts to black felt plates,indicating that the exhibition theme has changed as the virtual display has beencontained into the exhibition route. This black exhibition wall extending towardnorth has strengthened the guideline.
All the exhibition facilities are oflightweight construction attached to the cultural relics in a contact way toadapt to the future alteration and adjustment of display.
Nanjing Yangtze river bridge is abuilt heritage with complex historical connotations while the cognition and interpretationfrom the society are still being deepened and expanded. Therefore, our designhere and now has never aimed to a complement, but a proper response to a statein process.
Dec 29 of 2018
marked the 50thanniversary of Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge Bridge, and the Nanjing YangtzeRiver Bridge Memorial Hall located at the southern end of the bridge was openedto the public.