Reacting to the influx of gargantuan, iconic museum buildings produced by China’s recent “museum boom,” MORE Architecture aimed to create an intricate, experiential space with their design for Ginkgo Gallery. The gallery, construction on which has now begun, was conceived as a humble merging of art and nature, part of a network of private museums in the Yangtze River Delta. Ginkgo Gallery also houses an auditorium and workshop space in an effort to make art a part of public life and educate children in contemporary art.
The building’s rural context inspired its concept of the museum as a village. The small scale and sophisticated network of different-sized spaces that typify a village allow for visitors’ exploration and discovery. Ginkgo Gallery mixes two museum typologies - the traditional “guided” museum along with a more “free flow” plan. The fluid spaces allow visitors to choose their own route.
Concrete walls below curved concrete roofs create the building’s structure, with the roof slabs spanning up to 17 meters (over 55 feet). In plan, “streets” run east-west through the building to bring natural light into the space while exhibition halls increase in size and height from south to north.
The integration of art and nature is central to MORE’s design and the experience begins immediately upon arrival to the museum, which is placed on an island. Once on the island, visitors enter an outdoor sculpture garden, and within the building are two internal courtyards. The building itself is oriented towards the lake and landscape to the north, maintaining the natural connection for museum-goers throughout their visit.