It’s a case of fuel containers turning into containers of art and life. Shanghai Longhua Airport is a century old but for last few decades the airport has been inoperative. However, this abandoned airport today attracts visitors though none of them are passengers. Five aviation fuel containers of this airport in Shanghai which has seen and played a strategic role during two World Wars have been transformed into art and culture park Tank Shanghai, by local studio Open Architecture.
A new ‘Super-Surface’ links the separate tanks from underneath while providing an undulating grassy sculpture park on the roof. A massive ‘urban forest’ is carefully planted to bring nature back to the decontaminated site. The new art park pays tribute to the site’s industrial past while aiming to create new urban life by re-establishing the link between art, nature and the city.
Tank Shanghai which spans over 60,000 square meters was opened for public last month. Beijing firm OPEN Architecture led the makeover, first dividing the tanks by diameter (some are 24 meters, others are 28 meters wide) and then by function.
But, for the city of Shanghai, it’s not an unusual thing to convert an industrial heritage into museum. There is the Long Museum West Bund built out of an old coal storage facility; the Power Station of Art that took over an entire electricity plant; and the Rockbund Art Museum in the art deco RAS Building on the Bund.
Tank four of Tank Shanghai has a balcony at the top overlooking the Huangpu river. The lower two floors are being used for a group show of 13 Chinese artists. The interiors of tanks three and five have largely been left in their voluminous original state. Tank three contains a sci-fi landscape created by Argentinian artist Adrian Villar Rojas based on his impressions of Shanghai. Tank five is marked by a giant waterfall while tanks one and two, stand-alone tanks, will be used to host events in the future.