Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) / waa (we architech anonymous)

Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) / waa (we architech anonymous)

© NAARO © waa © NAARO © NAARO + 13

Yinchan, China
  • Architects Authors of this architecture project waa (we architech anonymous)
  • Area Area of this architecture project
  • Site

    YinChuan City, Ning Xia Province, China
  • Design Team

    Zhang Di, Jack Young, Ruben Bergambagt, Huang Yisu
  • Year

  • Photography

  • Architecture and Interior Design

    waa (we architech anonymous)
  • Facade Consultant

    Buro Happold
  • Main Contractor

    China Railway Construction Group
  • Facade Contractor

  • Interior Cladding Contractor

  • Client

    MinSheng Real Estate Development
  • GEA

    15006 sqm
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Text description provided by the architects. Site/Exterior:

waa complete an new museum of contemporary art in a Chinese city next to Yellow River, inspired by the local topography to give the museum its identity.


MOCA Yinchuan is located at the border between lush wetlands and arid desert divided by the Yellow river. In an area with no apparent grounding for contemporary art culture to grow. It was chosen to embrace this site complexity and rich ecological history. Placing the importance of geological activity in our site narration enabled the formation of a site specific concept and identity.Frequent flooding over the last millennia can be observed through satellite imagery which alludes to the rivers ever changing, shifting location. Leaving the current vast wetlands, as the only remnants of this journey and inspiring the museums dialogue with the site.


The crafted m­useum’s massing responds to geological forces (uploading/Sediment erosion) visible in the sedimentary creases abundant on the facade. Visualising the creases and texture require explorations using parametric techniques at certain moments during the design process. 

These help implant the desired identity, a “fossil “documenting the traces of Time.


a “fossil “documenting the traces of Time.

If the facade creases speak of documented time through material sedimentation. Emulating these natural landform processes frees a language intrinsically linked with ‘Place’while hinting of this ‘place’ as a Time in the past. 


GRC was an integral to developing a double curved surface. This building is comprised of over 1600 unique panels ranging from 40sqm to 8sqm. Re- awakening of the spirit of craftsmanship redundant in the age of automation.



© waa
© waa
© waa
© waa

Internal programmatic arrangement dictated the envelopes appearance; we hoped to engage in an open feel of participation for local visitors shortening the leap to art appreciation through educational leisure programs. Thus engaging the community and challenging them to observe in an open and optimistic environment. The linear route through gallery spaces helps direct the visitors gaze with a perception of climbing. Basement galleries are represented in darker and rougher materials, ascending the experience become whiter, brighter and more synthetic. 

The museum imparts an ambition to age, dark to light / rough to smooth / rising and falling. These simple rhythms and tempos hope to focus the visitor to experience traces of Time with greater awareness.

© waa
© waa

waa Team:

waa is founded by British Registered Architects Di Zhang (Bartlett/UCL), Partners include founding member Jack Young (2010) (Bartlett/UCL) and Ruben Bergambagt (2012) (Delft). The practice was set up following many years of experiences of the three partners working at international design firm Foster and Partners in London, gaining experience on many large scale projects most notably Masdar Development and Masdar Institute (UAE), Heathrow Airport Terminal Expansion and the Bloomberg European HQ (London).

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Project location

Address: YinChuan City, Ning Xia Province, China.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) / waa (we architech anonymous)" [银川当代美术馆 / waa 未觉(北京)建筑设计事务所] 06 Aug 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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银川当代美术馆 / waa 未觉(北京)建筑设计事务所

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