National Art Museum of China

The National Art Museum of China represents the country’s most significant international gesture since the Beijing 2008 Olympic games, embodying China’s evolving identity as a world-wide cultural power. The focus of the contemporary art world for decades, China is also experiencing a turn towards the past as its own post-revolutionary public repossesses their cultural lineage. This proposal for the museum encourages a cross-fertilization of influence, integrating China’s extensive heritage with current issues and ideas in art making. In doing so, the Museum proposes a new model for 21st century cultural institutions, re-approaching the meaning of institutional space after globalization.

National Art Museum of China - Courtesy of Morphosis

National Art Museum of China – Courtesy of Morphosis

Located near the center of Beijing, the National Art Museum of China extends the ancient city axis into a new period of development and cultural prominence, joining the architectural icons from the Olympic venues to establish a dedicated cultural quarter. Moving beyond conceptions of museums as exclusive, heterotopic structures detached from the city, the proposal amplifies urban connections through responsive forms, penetrating transparencies, and an interactive digital façade that animates the collection and movement of visitors within.

National Art Museum of China - Courtesy of Morphosis

National Art Museum of China – Courtesy of Morphosis

Rather than merely historicizing objects, the Museum contextualizes Chinese history in relation to contemporary cultural productions. The non-hierarchical webbing of galleries clusters around a central exhibition hall to allow for multiple circulation paths and narratives through the museum. At four times the size of the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, it offers an unprecedented exhibition space and new possibilities for site-specific art.

National Art Museum of China - Courtesy of Morphosis

National Art Museum of China – Courtesy of Morphosis

A system of translucent sky-bridges crosses through the central void, defining the viewer as a visible and active participant in the creation of meaning. Immersed in intercultural, cross-temporal connections, visitors are empowered as agents in the broader dialogue regarding the place of Chinese history in contemporary culture.

National Art Museum of China - Courtesy of Morphosis

National Art Museum of China – Courtesy of Morphosis

Project Info
Architects: Morphosis
Location: Beijing, China
Client: National Art Museum of China
Year: 2009
Size: 1,854,400 ft² / 172,279 m²
Type: Cultural Center/ Museum

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