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UCCA Dune Art Museum / OPEN Architecture

  • 00:00 - 13 December, 2018
UCCA Dune Art Museum / OPEN Architecture
UCCA Dune Art Museum / OPEN Architecture, Aerial View. Image © Qingshan Wu
Aerial View. Image © Qingshan Wu

Bird's Eye View. Image © Qingshan Wu Concrete Shell Construction Photo. Image Courtesy of OPEN Architecture Main Entrance. Image © Qingshan Wu Main Gallery. Image © Qingshan Wu + 20

  • Architects

  • Location

    Qinhuangdao, China
  • Category

  • Architect in Charge

    Li Hu, Huang Wenjing
  • Design Team

    Tingting Zhou (Project Architect), Mengmeng Wang, Boji Hu, Kuanyin Fang, Joshua Parker, Di Lu, Bong Lin, Qing Ye, Steven Shi, Han Jia
  • Area

    930.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2018
  • Photographs

  • Client

    Aranya
  • Operator

    UCCA
  • Local Design Institute

    CABR Technology Co., Ltd
  • Lighting Design

    X Studio, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, China + OPEN Architecture
  • More Specs Less Specs
Aerial View. Image © Qingshan Wu
Aerial View. Image © Qingshan Wu

Text description provided by the architects. On a quiet beach along the coast of northern China’s Bohai Bay, the UCCA Dune Art Museum is carved into the sand, where it gently disappears.

Bird's Eye View. Image © Qingshan Wu
Bird's Eye View. Image © Qingshan Wu
Concrete Shell Construction Photo. Image Courtesy of OPEN Architecture
Concrete Shell Construction Photo. Image Courtesy of OPEN Architecture

Countless years of wind have pushed the beach’s sand into a dune along the shore several meters high, stabilized by low-rising shrubs and other ground cover. Inspired by children’s tireless digging in the sand, the museum lies beneath this dune. “Digging” creates a series of interconnected, organically shaped spaces which, enveloped by sand, resemble caves—the primeval home of man, whose walls were once a canvas for some of humanity’s earliest works of art. Hidden between the sea and the sand, the design of the Dune Art Museum is simple, pure, and touching—a return to primal and timeless forms of space.

Main Entrance. Image © Qingshan Wu
Main Entrance. Image © Qingshan Wu

The decision to create the art museum underneath the dunes surrounding it was born out of both the architects’ deep reverence for nature and their desire to protect the vulnerable dune ecosystem, formed by natural forces over thousands of years. Because of the museum, these sand dunes will be preserved instead of leveled to make space for ocean-view real estate developments, as has happened to many other dunes along the shore.

Section
Section

A series of cell-like contiguous spaces accommodate the Dune Art Museum’s rich and varied programs, which include differently-sized galleries and a café. After passing through a long, dark tunnel and a small reception area, the space suddenly opens up as visitors enter the largest multifunctional gallery. There, a beam of daylight from the skylight above silently yet powerfully fills the space. 

Main Gallery. Image © Qingshan Wu
Main Gallery. Image © Qingshan Wu
Gallery. Image © Qingshan Wu
Gallery. Image © Qingshan Wu
Gallery Skylight. Image © Qingshan Wu
Gallery Skylight. Image © Qingshan Wu

Looking through different openings framed by the building, museum-goers can observe the ever-changing expressions of the sky and sea throughout the day. A spiral staircase leads to a lookout on top of the sand dune, guiding curious audiences from the dark recesses of the museum’s cave-like galleries to the vast openness above. Hidden between the sea and the sand, the museum emerges as a hidden shelter, intimate to the body and soul—a place to thoughtfully contemplate both nature and art. 

Cafe. Image © Qingshan Wu
Cafe. Image © Qingshan Wu

The complex three-dimensional geometry of the Dune Art Museum’s concrete shell was shaped by hand by local workers in Qinhuangdao (some of whom were former shipbuilders), using formwork made from small linear strips of wood and other materials. The architect deliberately retained the irregular and imperfect texture left by the formwork, allowing traces of the building’s manual construction to be felt and seen. In addition, the building’s doors and windows, reception desk, bar counter, and bathroom sinks are all custom-designed and made by hand. The eight tables in the café are also designed by the architect, each with a distinct shape matching that of the floor plans of the eight main gallery spaces.

Gallery. Image Courtesy of OPEN Architecture
Gallery. Image Courtesy of OPEN Architecture
Skylights. Image © Qingshan Wu
Skylights. Image © Qingshan Wu

The building’s many skylights, each with a different orientation and size, provide natural lighting for the museum’s spaces at all times of the year; its sand-covered roof greatly reduces the building’s summer heat load; and a low-energy, zero-emission ground source heat pump system replaces traditional air conditioning.

Spiral Staircase. Image © Qingshan Wu
Spiral Staircase. Image © Qingshan Wu
Spiral Staircase. Image © Qingshan Wu
Spiral Staircase. Image © Qingshan Wu

In the near future, a long walkway will be built opposite the Dune Art Museum, extending into the ocean. At low tide, when the pathway is accessible, visitors will be able to walk to the Sea Art Museum, which will rise out of the sea like a solitary rock. Together, these two museums will form a “Dialogue by the Sea”.

Rooftop Sunrise. Image © Qingshan Wu
Rooftop Sunrise. Image © Qingshan Wu

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Project location

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "UCCA Dune Art Museum / OPEN Architecture" 13 Dec 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/907596/ucca-dune-art-museum-open-architecture/> ISSN 0719-8884
Aerial View. Image © Qingshan Wu

UCCA沙丘美术馆 / OPEN 建筑事务所

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