Construction is underway for the new Datong Art Museum in China, designed by Foster + Partners. Referred to as China’s ‘Museum of the 21st Century’, the 32,000-square-meter venue will be one of four major new buildings within Datong New City’s cultural plaza. The museum will open in 2013 and represent China in the ‘Beyond the Building’ Basel Art international tour.
Luke Fox, a senior partner at Foster + Partners stated, “We are delighted to reveal designs for the new museum and look forward to working with the city to take the project to the next stage. When complete, Datong’s new quarter will be the center of the city’s cultural life, with the new museum as its ‘urban room’ – a dynamic space, open to everyone to meet and enjoy its different displays and activities.”
Continue after the break for more on the Datong Art Museum.
Clad in earth-toned Corten steel, the roof is comprised of four interconnected pyramids that spawn an exterior form that is conceived as an erupted landscape. Each pyramid increases in height and fan outwards to the four corners of the cultural plaza, creating a scale that relates to the other three cultural buildings in the plaza, while balancing the overall composition of the master plan and maximizing the internal volume of the Grand Gallery – the heroically scaled, top-lit exhibition space that is the centerpiece of the building.
A clerestory between each volume creates a dynamic play of light and shade internally, while illuminating the building from within to create a beacon for the new cultural quarter at night. With only the peaks of the roof visible at ground level, visitors approach the museum via a gentle ramp and stair that is integrated within the sunken plaza to create an informal amphitheater. The arrival sequence culminates in a dramatic overview of the Grand Gallery.
Arranged in a single level, the 37-meter-high Grand Gallery spans almost 80-meters, creating a space in which artists will be commissioned to create large-scale works of art. As the museums interior is designed to be highly flexible to accommodate a changing program of displays, the Grand Gallery has the ability to be subdivided into smaller, individual exhibition spaces, with services fully integrated into the structure. The children’s gallery, group entrance lobby, café, restaurant and support paces are arranged around sunken courtyards to draw in daylight.
The buildings efficient passive design responds to Datong’s climate. High-level skylights take advantage of the building’s north and north-west orientation, using natural light to aid orientation to minimize solar gain and ensuring the optimum environment for the works of art. A high-performance enclosure further reduces energy use. The roof, which accounts for 70 per cent of the exposed surface area, is insulated to twice building code requirements and, with just 10 per cent glazing, maintenance requirements are also minimized.