Art Museum of Yue Minjun by Studio Pei-Zhu


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The Art Museum of Yue Minjun, designed by Studio Pei-Zhu, is located near the Qingcheng Mountains, adjacent to the Shimeng River in Sichuan, China.

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Yue is one of the most successful contemporary artist in China today, and is well known for his paintings that depict large, smiling figures.

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The museum will house the works of Yue, and include an artist’s studio in addition to the exhibition space.

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The form of the building was inspired by a river rock that principal architect Pei Zhu picked up from the site.

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The exterior walls of the building are to be cladded in polished zinc, a material that endows the building with a futuristic appearance. At the same time, by mirroring its surroundings, the reflective surface also integrates the building into the natural environment.

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Studio Pei-Zhu is a Beijing-based architecture firm headed by principal architect Pei Zhu. The firm is behind the design of the Digital Beijing Building for the Summer Olympics 2008.

Reference: Zhulong

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Dafen Art Gallery by Urbanus


 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Dafen Art Gallery by Urbanus is located at the Dafen Oil Painting Village in Shenzhen, China.

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The Dafen Art Gallery is built in the most unlikely of places, within a commercial and residential part of the city. The objective of the gallery is to combine culture and commerce with everyday life.

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The Gallery was commissioned by the state in recognition of the commercial value of cultural production. The Dafen Artist Village, famous for its small galleries that produce replicas of oil paintings, generates billions in revenue a year through the export of its products internationally.

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The Gallery is to tap onto the synergy of the village and to become a new cultural centre that allows for the co-existence of high and low art, where exhibition and trade occur simultaneously.

In order to achieve this, the connection of the Gallery to its surroundings is of utmost importance. Different pathways at different levels were designed to channel people into the site.

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Plaza spaces were also created in front of the gallery for vendors of oil painting replicas to exhibit and sell their artworks.

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Besides exhibition spaces, there are also studios spaces for rent within the gallery complex.

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Urbanus is a architecture and urban design practice with offices in Shenzhen and Beijing. The firm’s works have been featured in publications such as Abitare, a+u, and Domus.

References: Zhulong, Baidu Library, CAMA

Ordos Art Gallery by DnA


 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Ordos Art Museum is located at the cultural centre of Ordos, a city founded in 2001 in Inner Mongolia. Designed by DnA, the museum houses a public exhibition space and a private research institution.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

In the design of the gallery, much attention was given to integrate the building with the prairie landscape of Ordos.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

In the design process, a continuous, linear route traced on the landscape constituted the basis of the eventual building form.

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From the entrance, the visitor proceeds up the natural terrain of the dune’s slope, before descending back onto the ground floor. The end of the route also marks the conclusion of the public exhibition space, and the beginning of the private research institution.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

The interior spaces vary in height, width and length according to the terrain.

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Full height glazing brings the landscape into the interior spaces, while semi-enclosed courtyard spaces

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DnA_Design and Architecture is a Beijing-based architecture firm headed by Xu Tiantian. 

Reference: Zhulong

 

 

 

 

Changxin Radio and Television Broadcasting Station by Integrated Architecture Studio, IA


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The Changxin Radio and Television Broadcasting Station by Integrated Architecture Studio, IA, is located in Zhejiang, China.

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Located in Meishan Park, the objective of the design was to ensure continuity between the building and its surrounding.

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One of the strategies adopted to connect the building to the park was the conception a strip of public garden that spirals up from the ground level to the roof level.

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A plaza in front of the building also functions as an outdoor amphitheatre where performances can take place. Steps leading to the building serves as the spectator stand.

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Integrated Architecture Studio, IA, is headed by architect Fu Xiao. Based in Nanjing, China, it works in collaboration with the architecture design and research institute of Nanjing University.

 

References: Zhulong

OCT Art and Design Gallery by Urbanus


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The OCT Art and Design Gallery is an additions and alterations project by Urbanus located in Shenzhen, China. The original structure, built in the early 1980s, was a warehouse that served as the laundry house of the Shenzhen Bay Hotel.

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In the alteration, the warehouse was wholly preserved. A new glass façade with a hexagonal graphic pattern was built around the preserved warehouse.

 Image: http://www.china-designer.com

The hexagonal motif is repeated in the museum’s interior. Derived from various combinations and permutations of the hexagon, this results in a complex and irregularly shaped interior space.

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In the design, two distinct exhibition spaces were created through the use of materiality. In the first instance, the entire space is totally cladded in timber.

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Another part of the museum employed concrete on all its surfaces.

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The irregular spaces of the new architectural intervention are in contrast to the rectangularity of the preserved warehouse, which is also accentuated by its white walls. The windows of the preserved warehouse are entirely boarded up, creating an enclosed exhibition space.

 Image: http://www.china-designer.com

Thus, it is only from the newly added architectural spaces that views of the surroundings can be taken in.

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The irregularity of the newly added spaces endows them with a functional flexibility. Besides serving as exhibition halls, they can also accommodate a variety of different events such as fashion, product and jewelry launches.

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Urbanus is a architecture and urban design practice with offices in Shenzhen and Beijing. The firm’s works have been featured in publications such as Abitare, a+u, and Domus.

References: Baidu Library, Zhulong, China Designer 

Thursday Feature: The World’s Smallest Memorial


Hu Huishan Memorial, front view

  Image: blog.sina.com / zhutaoarchitect

  Hu Huishan, female, from Sichuan province, China.                                                                   Born on 11 October 1992.                                                                                               Perished on May 12 2008 at 14:42 during the Wenchuan earthquake.                                                 Cremated on 2008 May 15.                                                                                                           She dreamt of being a writer, and loved literature.      

Hu Huishan Memorial, aerial view

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Tucked away quietly in a corner of the Jianchuan Museum Cluster in Sichuan, China, is a humble grey structure. Measuring 5 meters long and 3 meters wide, the Hu Huishan Memorial by architect Liu Jiakun is touted as the world’s smallest memorial.

Path leading towards memorial

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Surrounded by a dense cluster of trees, the memorial is nearly hidden from public view. With no visible signage guiding visitors to the site, its existence is solely indicated by the presence of a narrow, winding, pebbled path. It is almost like a secret hideaway. Not the dangerous, dark setting of violent faceoffs, but the enchanting site of happy endings in fairytales.

The small, gabled building surrounded by lush greenery looks all rosy and delightful, except that it is constructed in memory of Hu Huishan, a schoolgirl who had lived only a mere 15 years of life when she perished in the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.

Wenchuan Earthquake Museum

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Situated a mere 20 meters away from the memorial is the Wenchuan Earthquake Museum, a massive, 5,000 square meter structure with over 30 exhibition halls. Compared to the memorial, the museum is a monstrosity in its scale and form. However, the Wenchuan Earthquake Museum is typical of the 15 large-scale history museums in the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, which makes the nondescript simplicity of the memorial seem shabby in contrast.

View of memorial's interior from entrance

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Commemorated in one section of the Wenchuan Earthquake Museum were the notable persons who perished in the quake. Differing from them, Hu was the most ordinary and negligible civilian of the nearly 80,000 people who perished in the disaster. She did not come from an exceptional family, and had no significant accomplishments at the time of her death.

Interior of memorial

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While the museum contained 50,000 remaining objects from the quake, the memorial exhibited the personal, everyday items used by Hu, all of which can be taken in at a single glance from the entrance.

Hu Huishan's personal belongings on display

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These included her photographs, schoolbag and notebook, some of which were dug up from the rubble by her parents.

Hu Huishan's identity card

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The memorial also included the most common and trivial items, such as Hu’s identity card, and her letters to friends.

Photographs of Hu Huishan

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Looking at the items, narratives of her life begin to construct themselves in our minds. Narratives of a life that was, and could have been.

Hu Huishan's music player

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In a way, the exhibition of these personal and intimate items from Hu’s life is similar to the curatorial approach undertaken at the Auschwitz Museum in Poland. In the Auschwitz Museum, belongings of war victims, such as glasses, suitcases, and even their artificial limbs, are put on display. It is through the piles upon piles of these personal belongings that the immensity of the war crimes committed against the Jewish race is driven across.

While not as disturbing or gut-wrenching as the display at Auschwitz, the exhibition of Hu’s belongings also focuses on the human dimension of the tragedy. It makes her death more personal and drives it closer to home for the viewer.

Exterior view of memorial

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If the design of the memorial looks rather unexceptional, this is due to the derivation of its form from the emergency tents that were erected in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Disaster emergency tents

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Recalling the scene of the disaster zone three days after the quake occurred, the architect Liu said: “I saw emergency tents and red bricks everywhere. The design of the memorial is directly derived from the form and size of the emergency tents. Recycled red bricks from the disaster were also used to construct the memorial, and to pave the path leading to the memorial. All these elements were employed to evoke people’s memories of the earthquake.”

Round skylight of memorial

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Only one detail in the design of the memorial differed from the form of the emergency tents. Due to the space needed for the exhibition articles, the wall openings of the emergency tents were not adopted. Instead, a small, round skylight was installed.

Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Image: culturedart.blogspot.com

By designing a memorial for an ordinary girl, the Hu Huishan Memorial functions like the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., while surpassing it in certain aspects. The power of the Vietnam War Memorial derives from its acknowledgement of each and every soldier who perished in the war. By engraving their names on its surface, the war casualty is no longer a mere statistic. S/he is an individual with a name.

Portrait of Hu Huishan

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However, the Hu Huishan Memorial surpasses this, by attaching a face and a personality to the name. By endowing the casualty with a personal narrative through the display of her belongings, the tragedy is made even more impactful.

As Liu has said, the memorial transcends Hu and is dedicated to all the ordinary civilians who perished in the earthquake.

Model of Hu Huishan Memorial

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Like the Vietnam War Memorial, the simplicity of the Hu Huishan Memorial is anti-monumental. Yet, it has acquired a monumental status with little publicity. Photographs of the Memorial were quickly disseminated online by netizens with its completion in 2009, endowing it with a visibility and presence that far exceeds its size.

Liu Jiakun is the principal architect of Jiakun Architects, a Chengdu-based architectural firm. 

References: Zhulong, Nanfang Weekend, Sina News, Sina Travel, Sohu News, Jianchuan Museum Cluster, U.S. News 

Songzhuang Artist Village by DnA


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Songzhuang Artist Village by DnA is a cluster of 20 SOHOs for artists located at the outskirts of Beijing. Songzhuang is one of the largest and most well-known artist community in China, and was once home to now internationally acclaimed artists such as Yue Minjun and Fang Lijun in the early 1990s.

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All of the twenty studio units have different floor plans and configurations, each of which offers soothing views of the adjacent pond.

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The functional requirements of working and living are used to determine the project’s form and layout, dividing each unit into two distinct components. The studio spaces are simple, rectangular volumes that rise 6 meters in height. The residential component takes on a more complex form that incorporates the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and toilet, measuring 3 meters in height.

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The studio space is plugged into the living component, either on the same level, or via a staircase.

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The unique layout of the village achieved by the configuration of the twenty different SOHOs result in peculiar spaces and surprising niches that facilitate interaction amongst the artists.

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During arts festivals, the artist village opens its doors to visitors, and the public spaces between the units are used for the exhibition of artworks.

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DnA_Design and Architecture is a Beijing-based architecture firm headed by Xu Tiantian. 

Via: Zhulong