Wuhan, the capital of the Chinese province Hubei has both ancient and contemporary architectural points of interest that could tickle your curiosity. The city has been an important region of growth since the last 3500 years of its history – nestled on the banks of Yangtze river, the city has unique architectural creations from various phases of its existence – from the mystic of the Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, Fine Arts and Crafts, to the innovative prowess of 21st century and the futuristic green initiatives.

1. Wuhan Railway Station

Built in: 2010
Architect: TFT Farrells
Area: 120 000 m²
Cost:  $2 Billion USD
Concept: Fusion of rural landscape and urban expansion

This Railway hub has been designed to handle a whooping 300 million passengers everyday. It is one part of the world class transportation rule on the Beijing—Wuhan— Shanghai—New Guangzhou—Hong Kong route. Apart from a railway station, it is also has multi-conveyance facilities of cabs, taxi, metros and bus. To increase its daily passenger capacity, the design has a vertical expansion plan as well. The structure has 28 platforms, a 348m long central skylight spine that changes its width over its course and the seam roofs are inclined at an angle of 45 degrees to portray leafy forms.

2. Wuhan Greenland Centre

Architects: Adrian Smith and Gordan Gill, ECADI
Year: 2019
Budget: $4.5 Billion
Concept: The triangular form of the building represents the three cities and two rivers that converge to form a single entity- Wuhan. Wuhan is also known as “The three towns of Wuhan”
Area: 50,000 m2
Facts: 639-metre-tall, 120 storeyed-mixed use high rise, third tallest building in the world.
Key Features:

The tapering form, fillet corners and the domed peak induce natural ventilation wind pressure in addition to the mechanical air exhaustion and intake systems.

The façade consists of vertical stainless polished steel fins and perforated aluminium horizontal sun shading devices which take care of insolation on the tower throughout the day.

An important feature of the tower is its green approaches with 51% energy savings through efficient lighting system, low flow plumbing fixtures, grey water reuse, automatic daylight sensors etc.

Hence the Wuhan Greenland centre is a benchmark of an economically feasible, sustainable and high-performance architecture in 21st century.

3. Yellow Crane Tower

Built by: wuhuangwu in The Three Kingdoms period in 223 AD
Also Known for:

  1. The first floor of all rivers and mountains in the world
  2. The most beautiful scenery in the world
  3. The famous poem “”climb the yellow crane tower” by tang dynasty poet Cui Hao.

Concept: Crane – symbolises auspicious and peace and longevity

The yellow crane tower is sited at the top of the Snake hill. It is 61.7 meters tall and 5 storied with a built-up area of 3,219 square meters. This ancient tower has a structural skeleton of 72 columns, with 60 warps extending outward. The roofing is made of more than 100,000 yellow glazed tiles.

Orientation: South facing entrance attracts more positive energy according to Fengshui
Symmetry – The identical protrusions of eaves along a bilateral axis resembles a crane like form.

The original tower was made of timber posts and with tenon joinery for earthquake resistance.

Today, for conservation purpose, many changes have been made to the tower, instead of timber, concrete has been used, the initially three-tiered building has been turned into a 5-tiered building which have different meanings in Feng Shui, a lift for barrier free access has been installed in the building and the entire complex was reconstructed 1km away from its original site.

4. Han Show Theatre

Architect: Stufish Entertainment Architects
Year: 2014
Budget: $900 million dollars
Concept: “doing away with gravity”
Facts: 200 m2 of high-performance screens, 1300 high tech lighting fixtures, 8.7 metres deep water tube containing 10,000 litres of water, fountain jets and a diving platform at the height of 27.5 metres.
Key Features:

The theatre was built specifically for the water performance based “Han Show”.
The cylindrical building is 100 metres wide and 100 metres tall (basement to high point)

The form of the building and its façade treatment resembles a Chinese lantern. The building is supported by 21-metre-long columns which represent the tassels of the lantern.

The exterior is enveloped with 800 tons of circular and intersecting steel beams. Cable nets coiling around the frame structure support 18,000 red coloured concave aluminium alloy disks fitted with red LEDs called Bi-disks.

5. The Revolution Building 1911

Architect: CADI
Year: 2011
Concept: Regular triangle represents the progressive nature of the Revolution of 1911
Key Features:

The museum’s main exhibits include the five phases of China’s past and the Foundation of the The protruding roof represents the overhanging eave and double roof of the traditional Chinese architecture. The outer wall rises higher than other levels and hence reflects the courage to be the first in line with the revolutionary spirit.

Bent plates and steel frame structure using triangular batter posts act as vertical structural members as well as support the exterior curtain wall.

The interior and the exterior are clad with 11,000 m2 of GRC plates to give a natural carved texture.

The complicated form and function of the museum were brought to reality with the help of 3D design software RHINO, REVIT, CATIA, NAVISWORKS and TEKLA and through the integration by BIM technology.

6. Wanda Movie Park

Architect: Stufish Entertainment Architects
Year: 2014
Budget: $690 Million
Concept: The form is derived from the famous local relic- a 2000-year-old Wuhan Bianzhong bell to give an architectural cacophony.

The park houses 24 different bells, and each unsymmetrical rippling bell is clad in 11,000 spokedgolden aluminium panels.

All the panels are coated in a fluorocarbon paint that self-cleanses itself during precipitation.

Each geometric aluminium plate has a 100 mm offset which is fitted with LED lighting fixtures. They wrap are wound around the bells and give a aesthetically attractive experience at night.

The landscaping follows the schematic flow of a agricultural practices of Hubei Province –terrace planting, outdoor seating arrangements and water cascades.

The entrance of the building is a massive 32m tall x 34m wide x 18m cantilevered bell.

7. Institute of New Energy, Wuhan

Architect: Grontmij’s consultants and Soeters Van Eldonk Architects
Year: 2013
Budget: $55 Million
Area: 70,000 m2
Concept: The form is inspired by the “flowers of calla lily”
Key Features:

It is a net zero 140-metre-tall building which houses the offices and the leafy blocks consists of the laboratories.

The top most part of the flower consists of solar panels and rain water harvesting technologies whereas the pistil has a powerful turbine generating wind electricity.

The stem of the building induces stack effect by expelling hot air and intaking of fresh cool air, hence promoting natural ventilation.

It is the first ever building in the world to receive the outstanding BREEAM rating.

8. Tortoise Mountain TV Tower

Year: 1986

The Tower is 311.4 metres high with an observation deck at 221 metres.
The structure is made of RCC.

Its main function is synthesized tourism and it is nestled on the Tortoise mountain near the Snack hill.

It was one of the first self-made structures by the Republic of China.

9. Hankou Customs House Museum

Built: 1924
Style: Fusion of Greek Classical and European Renaissance
Key Features:

This colonial era building encompasses 4,099 m2. It 46.3 meters tall and the top of bell tower is at 83.8 meter above ground level.
The building is a 3 storeyed structure and houses 500 artefacts.

This museum explores the phases of development of Hankou through historical documents, photos, and artefacts. An important historical segment was life in an era following the Qing’s defeat by Britain and France in the second Opium War in 1858.

It is nestled in the juncture between Jianghan Road and the Hankou Bund and the complex is one of the most important landmarks of Wuhan’s architectural journey.

10. Baotang Temple

Also Known as: Dongshan Temple, Amitabha Temple,
Built by: Song State (420-479)
Key Features:

It is known for its tinkling bells – two huge iron bells from the ancient Southern Song Dynasty period (1127-1279), and a pair of lions carved on stone from the early Ming Dynasty period (1368-1644).

This traditional Chinese Buddhist temple includes a Grand Hall, Meditation Hall and the Abbots Hall.

The Hongshan Pagoda which is also part of the site was built in 1290.

It is 7 storeyed-41-metre-long with an octagonal form. The façade follows a rhythm and harmony of windows, doors, brackets, posts and rafters.

11. Wuhan Yangzte Bridge

Year: 2011
Key Features

The Wuhan Yangzte Bridge plays a very crucial role in the busy water hub of Wuhan.

For long term expansion of the river, the main bridge was designed as the double main span cable-stayed bridge with three towers.

This is world’s largest cable-stayed span with a span of 616m. The bridge is also the longest span cable-stayed bridge with composite girders.

The bridge was a first in many ways – using composite girder and π-shaped PC girder to form mixing structure, which helped overcome the inadequate vertical stiffness of a multi-span cable-stayed bridge and hence achieve the span world record of multi-span cable stayed from 400m to 600m.

The upper level of the bridge is a two-way, four-lane automobile highway. The lower level is a double-track railway on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway line.

12. University Of Wuhan

Built in:
Key Features:

The old of Wuhan University were typical of the architecture of a university during the Republic of China period.

The complex reflects national temperament and shows traces of Western influences at the same time, thus rich in creativity and aesthetic values.

The windows were simple – multifunctional, the rooms well ventilated and lit.

In addition, the roofs were colouredgreen of peafowls. The choice was appropriate since the buildings were against the foreground of heavy landscaping on campus.

13. Langtin Yuanzhu Experience Hall

Architect: Challenge Design
Year: 2018
Area: 1400 m2
Budget: $500 Million
Concept: Harmonious unity of art and function
Key Features:

The building is located on a street corner hence a fold-line plan forms an enclosed urban space, segregating private and public spaces.

The hall offers a 270 degree view which blends connects the spheres of the urban landscape and the hall.

The flow of the landscape and planning is such that the vista, levels and green elements create a unique visual and auditory experience.

The meandering curves intersecting with living, non-living objects as well as light and shadow add to the architectural appeal.

14. Hanjie Wanda Square

Architect: UnStudio
Year: 2013
Concept: Fusion of traditional and contemporary architecture
Key Features:

In the words of the architect of this commercial structure Ben van Berkel: “Reflection, light and pattern are used throughout the Hanjie Wanda Square to create an almost fantastical world. New microcosms and experiences are created for the shopper, similar perhaps to the world of theatre, whereby the retail complex becomes almost a stage or a place of performance and offers a variety of different impressions and experiences to the visitor.”

The concept of synergy of flow was applied to the overall circulation experience of the user.The fluidic geometry of the exterior, the accentuating lighting of the façade and its the interior pattern’s expression which nudges the user from the central atria to the higher levels and corridors throughout the mall.

The façade treatment consists of combination of two materials: polished stainless steel and patterned glass.

These two materials are handcrafted into nine different prototypes, but standardised spheres. Their specific positions with respect to each other resemble the movement and reflection in wateror the aesthetic folds of silk fabric.

15. Hanyang Guiyuan Temple Sales Centre

Architect: WaterFrom Design
Year: 2018
Area: 2860 m2
Concept: Retaining the traditional Chinese architecture in contemporary context.
Key Features:

Inspired Buddhist architecture, “sloping rooftop” which seems to be suspended in air was ideated.

The roof symbolises mountain ranges – it is made of black and grey steel bars. The wide pool in the foreground complements the form of the building and hence the landscape appears to be similar to that of a painting.

The glass curtain wall produces immersive reflections of the sky, lights and shadows in the water hence offering a stimulating experience of “A breeze produces no ripples”.

The curve of the entrance is drawn from the form of Moon Lake, a famous local scenic spot. The contour of the site is gradually declining hence creating a ceremonial experience for people and filtering noise from outside.

The partition wall is coloured with tea brick records of the past glory of tea trading in old Hanyang City during Northern Song Dynasty. The vernacular tea utensils which have a raw and simple sense symbolise the still-ongoing popularity of tea amongst the people of Hanyang.


Reshmi Goswami is an inquisitive budding architect in the physical realm, a spiritual creature in her mind and a meticulously functional artist in her heart. She is obsessed with the idea of “Architecture Triumphs Over Climate Change” in the headlines !