The Aranya Art Center in Qinhuangdao, China has been completed, designed by Neri&Hu. Situated in a seaside environment, the scheme was designed to evoke notions of space for art versus communal space. Despite the straightforward brief for the art center, the scheme reaches further to become a communal space for residents in the deeply spiritual community.
Drawing inspiration from the seasonal ocean waters nearby, the building seeks to encapsulate the natural wonder of water at its core: calm in summers, and splintered in winter. Maximizing its outer footprint, but carved from a pure conical geometry at its center, the scheme’s central void space can be reconfigured and used in many ways, whether filled with water or as a functional gathering space.
Within the building’s thick mass, a series of interlocking spaces allow visitors to meander freely, slowly ascending to enjoy a choreographed journey with directed views both inward and outward. Starting from the bottom with a café, multi-purpose gallery, and outdoor amphitheater, the path guides visitors through five distinct galleries, culminating at the rooftop where visitors are offered a 360-degree view of the activities below.
Composed of various textured concretes, with and without aggregate, the façade and materiality of the building is heavy in nature, evoking a solid rock sitting firmly in the shifting environment. Smooth surfaces reflect the changing skies, while the molded modular units capture the play of shadows throughout the day. Bronze elements act as accents to the heavy façade, catching light and drawing attention to the entry of each gallery.
It was exciting for us to work with Aranya on this project where we were able to explore a hybrid typology which combined design, art, and performance. The project pushes the boundaries of how architectural space deals with sensorial experiences in unexpected ways.
-Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu
News via: Neri&Hu