Ever since the period of the Renaissance in Europe, the indivisible relationship between art and architecture has long been heatedly discussed and vividly reflected in numerous classical books and buildings. With the deep connection that unites art and architecture together, designers, artists, and architects have been actively collaborating and came up with solutions on how we can house and exhibit art in the form of changing spaces.
This article will present a collection of 10 contemporary art museums in China designed by emerging Chinese architects, with a collective goal to engage the audiences’ senses, and explore the combination of visual cultures, materiality, and functionality.
Designed by gad, the art museum, situated in the west of Kunming City, is an important public building in the Cuifeng Ecological Park. Its name “Mountain & Sea” was inspired by its position, located away from the hustle and bustle of the city and appearing vividly on the mountain, as well as from its location at the north end of the Dianchi Lake system. With excellent landscape resources, the designers also attempt to accommodate the city view, water features and mountain ranges in the sight. The art space, thus, become an integral part of the view and experience.
Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by waa, located next to Yellow River, is inspired by the local topography to give the museum its identity. 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. The design emphasized the importance of geological activity in site narration, enabling the formation of a site-specific concept and identity. The crafted museum’s massing responds to geological forces (uploading/Sediment erosion) visible in the sedimentary creases abundant on the facade.
Changjiang Art Museum, designed by Vector Architects is located in Changjiang village at the northeast corner of Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. Like any other Chinese villages, this village was razed in 2016 to give land to the rapid urban development. The spatial context that once inscribed the memory of people’s everyday lives were deprived and fractured. Changjiang Art Museum, as a cultural and shared space, attempts to establish a contemporary response commemorating the traces and atmosphere of the human construction that ever existed on this piece of earth.
Designed by 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio, Limestone Gallery is located on the palisade of ‘Haiwei’ north, from where the visitors can see the whole canyon, jagged rocks down the bottom, the river, the pit and Tourists’ Center all in one view. Looking up, the visitors can appreciate immense peaks from miles. The total floor area of Limestone Gallery is about 800 square meters with two floors inside, including the exhibition, conference and service area. Rooftop is used for sightseeing and the very bottom floor is designed as an outdoor lounge space. Between sunrise and sunsets, and among the changing clouds, people will feel the happiness from the fairyland.
Longyan Cloud Art Gallery, designed by AAI.LifeWay studio, is located on the south side of Longyan Zijinshan Sports Park, next to Ziyu Lake. The building’s west side is adjacent to the flower sea and golf course, and its north side is surrounded by mountains. From the demonstration area to the west, you can overlook the side of the flower sea. To the south, you can enjoy the lake view. To the north, you can look out over the mountains. The building has been carefully designed to merge with the landscape. The distant mountains, flowers, lakes, grass slopes, mountain breezes, fog, and every element of the environment and the building all contribute to a unique sense of venue experience.
Located in Chongwu, Fujian Province, Fengying · Stone Art Museum designed by GOA exhibits the works of national master sculptor Wu Deqiang. It is also a renovation project in a carving work factory. The architect has incorporated three courtyards with different layouts into the building, thus creating a self-contained world without being isolated from the outside. Considering that the works vary in size, the architect didn’t use conventional full artificial lighting, but proposed to introduce natural light into the hall for a better vibe. For large sculptures are usually displayed outdoors and natural light is more likely to create a genuine exhibition environment, and specially designed artificial spotlights are more suitable to display miniature sculptures.
Waterfront Art Gallery designed by Lacime Architects, is located on the west bank of Xianghu Lake, Nanchang City. The large-scale block form of the new town is markedly different from the “natural” structure of the old town. Fuhe River that flows south from the “Tengwangge Delta” tries to preserve the landscape characteristics of this city, and turns the bridge into a major element in the urban design. The project intends to obtain evidence from the morphological memory of this contemporary city, and remains in the frontier of the cultural landscape.
In officePROJECT’s project Canal Art Museum, water system, elevated layer, overhead corridor and flowing people have all been designed as an absorbed scenery. Although the volume of the building is small, it is not a self-sufficient closed unit. It is not only a part of the park, but also a window open to the park. Meanwhile, because it can be separated from the outside, the orientation of the art museum is a kind of integration of open space and box space from the very beginning, which is the mutual transformation of external and internal perspectives. Also, through the design of low windows in the exhibition hall, the water system between the buildings also becomes the exhibition element in the exhibition hall, blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor.
Designed by DnA, Baitasi Hutong Gallery serves as a giant white volume, which brings dynamic magnetism into the typical hutong fabric and courtyard life. Through converting a 2-story cement residential building into a hutong gallery in the Baitasi area, the finished structure will host community exhibitions and facilitate artists living and working in Baitasi hutong area, introduce new elements to integrate with local community, and bring a new transforming process into the region. Batasi is the testimony of solid history and culture. The curves and white colour of the scheme spread the image of Bai Ta. The shading structure twined by plants reflects the living atmosphere of Hutong.
Designed by Atelier Deshaus, Long Museum West Bund is located at the bank of Huangpu River, Xuhui District, Shanghai Municipality, the site of which was used as the wharf for coal transportation. The flowing exhibition space under the overground as-cast-finish concrete “vault-umbrella” and the “white box” exhibition space on the first underground floor are connected with spiral ladders downward. The parallel tensility highlighting the space, primordial but realistic, and the art exhibition from the ancient, modern and contemporary periods, has displayed an exhibition space featuring the temporality.