National Art Museum of China / UNStudio

National Art Museum of China / UNStudio
© UNStudio.

For their latest museum design in Beijing, Ben van Berkel and UNStudio have designed a formal expression which takes ques from Chinese culture to create an architecture that offers dynamically varied spaces for the NAMOC collections. Based on uniting dualities – past and future, day and night, inside and outside, calm and dynamic, large and small, individual and collective – the two volumes reference ancient Chinese ‘stone drums’ and function in a contemporary way as a media facade with illuminated art projections.

More about the design after the break. 

The museum focuses on creating varied galleries for the artwork that offer extensive lighting possibilities and ample wall space in order to provide artists and curators with the optimal conditions in which to display their work and communicate their ideas. The circulation is divided into different routes which lead different visitor groups around themed sequences of art and additional programs.

© UNStudio. Duality of Gallery

“Whilst the architecture of the museum is represented by the ancient artifact of the stone drum, the art within represents its spirit, or its “essence”. In the same way that the agile strokes of ink in a Chinese painting give spirit to a blank piece of paper, the art collection gives spirit to the museum,” explained the designers.

In addition to the interior spaces, the museum’s situation within the urban context was of utmost importance.  The public urban plinth plateaus of the cultural district serve as connectors to bridge the city with the museum by connecting the street level, the the underground, and the museum volumes.

© UNStudio.

The National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China, 2010

© UNStudio. Entrance View


Client: National Art Museum of China

Location; Beijing, China

Programme: National Art Museum, offering fixed and temporary exhibition spaces, educational facilities, offices, restaurants and shops.

Scale: Building 99.700 m²

Status: Competition entry



UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Gerard Loozekoot with Joerg Petri, Sander Versluis and Tatjana Gorbatschewskaja, Aurelie Hsiao, Amanda Chan, Imola Berczi, Philip Meise, Tina Kortmann, Hans Kooij, Mo Ching Ying Lai


Collaborating Artist: Song Dong Façade, Structure, MEP, Acoustic: Bollinger & Grohmann, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Engineering: Bollinger & Grohmann, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Visualisations and Animation:  Mir, Bergen, Norway

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About this author
Cite: Karen Cilento. "National Art Museum of China / UNStudio" 05 Dec 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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