Forbidden City Palace: Imbibing Culture In China

The Qianlong Garden Interpretation Center will be built within a palace of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, that has never been open to the public. The Qianlong Garden – a private palace in the northwest quadrant of the old Chinese imperial palace complex, now known as the Palace Museum – will be open to the public thanks to the Selldorf Architects-designed visitor facility.

Restoration Of The Qianlong Garden

Juanqinzhai theater room in Beijing's Forbidden City

The project is part of the Palace Museum’s restoration of the Qianlong Garden, which is being carried out in conjunction with the World Monuments Fund. The Qianlong Garden, also known as the Palace of Tranquil Longevity, was created in 1771 for the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty as part of his planned retirement complex. It encompasses about two acres of the complex and includes 27 pavilions and structures as well as four courtyards. It is one of the Forbidden City’s most important historical sites that has remained unrestored.


Origins Of The Forbidden City Palace

Qianlong Garden Interpretation Center by Selldorf Architects

In most cases, iconic landmarks are adamantly opposed to modification. Fortunately for us, the famous Qianlong Garden in China is not one of them. The space, which is located in the northeast corner of the Forbidden City, was erected by the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912) as part of his 60-year reign’s planned retirement complex. Several courtyards were incorporated in the complex, which was set within a private retreat with several pavilions and monuments, showing the cultural grandeur of the Chinese empire at the time. The Qianlong Garden has been undergoing renovations for the past two decades.

The Qianlong Garden Interpretation Center was scheduled to open in 2020, just in time for the Forbidden City’s 600th anniversary. Selldorf Architects, founded in 1988 by Annabelle Selldorf, is a 70-person architectural design firm based in New York City. The firm has recently unveiled plans for a refurbishment of the Frick Collection museum, which will include an addition to the library and the first public access to parts of the Frick mansion.


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