February 21, 2024


As society continues to move away from fossil fuel use, what should we do with all the old infrastructure that is left behind? MVRDV offers a possible answer for this upcoming project in China, which will convert a former oil refinery into a mixed-use development using impressive green technology to generate more electricity than it needs.

Adjacent to the Hangzhou Refinery Park China’s Grand Canal And form part of a larger push by the Chinese government to transform many industrial areas near the waterfront into social facilities. The site covers approximately 18 hectares (45 acres) and will include retail, office and art spaces.

Many of the buildings that once occupied the refinery have been demolished, but some larger buildings and storage tanks remain. MVRDV, in collaboration with landscape architects Openfabric, aimed to preserve the larger buildings while recreating the smaller silos into immersive art experiences and quirky retail kiosks. The entire project will be centered around a new museum in the form of oversized glass oil tanks partially covered with LEDs, creating a dynamic façade that can change colors or publicize events happening inside.

“At the heart of the park is the Center for Arts and Technology, a new museum whose cylindrical exterior is imagined as an enlarged version of the silos that once dotted the site,” explained MVRDV. “The simple form of the exterior hides a highly complex The interior: On top of a circular exhibition hall partially buried in the ground, a cluster of rectangular boxes houses the artist’s studio, offices and commercial spaces. The boxes form a series of terraces connected by stairs and bridges, making the This public area within the museum comes alive, enabling performances, large-scale installations or events.”

The facade of the museum in Hangzhou's oil refinery park will be covered with LEDs, allowing it to display advertisements and change colors
The facade of the museum in Hangzhou’s oil refinery park will be covered with LEDs, allowing it to display advertisements and change colors

Hangzhou Refinery Park

The sustainable development of the Hangzhou Refinery Park is ambitious. The new museum’s façade will be permeable, allowing breezes to penetrate the structure and heat and cool it naturally, reducing the energy required to maintain a comfortable temperature.

The facade will also contain thousands of small “photovoltaic spots” (essentially small solar panels) to harness sunlight to generate electricity. The attractions are installed taking into account sunlight, prevailing winds and views. Other structures on the site, which will be constructed of glass, will also use the same photovoltaic system. All of this means that the park will supply more power to the grid than it uses, according to MVRDV, but exact figures are not yet available. Additionally, the park will feature many new plants and trees, as well as green roofs.

The Hangzhou Refinery Campus has been commissioned following an international architectural competition, although we have no word yet on when it is expected to be completed.

source: MVRDV