Datong Art Museum by Foster + Partners


Datong Art Museum by Foster + Partners

Construction has started on an art museum with four overlapping peaks that Foster + Partners have designed for Datong, China.

Datong Art Museum by Foster + Partners

The Datong Art Museum will be one of four new buildings at the cultural plaza and will be sunken into the ground.

Datong Art Museum by Foster + Partners

Corten steel will create a roof that weathers over time, while a series of skylights will direct strips of natural light into the galleries within.

See more projects by Foster + Partners here.

Here's the full press release from Foster + Partners:

New museum under construction in Datong, China

Construction is underway at Datong Art Museum – China’s ‘Museum of the 21st Century’. The museum will open in 2013 to represent China in the ‘Beyond the Building’ Basel Art international tour.

The 32,000-square-metre venue is one of four major new buildings within Datong New City’s cultural plaza. Its centrepiece is the Grand Gallery, a heroically scaled, top-lit exhibition space measuring 37 metres high and spanning almost 80 metres, in which artists will be commissioned to create large-scale works of art.

Externally, the building’s form is conceived as an erupted landscape. The entire museum is sunk into the ground with only the peaks of the roof visible at ground level. The roof is clad in earth-toned Corten steel, which will weather naturally over time. The building relates in scale to the three other cultural buildings in the group, balancing the overall composition of the masterplan while maximising the internal volume of the Grand Gallery.

The roof is composed of four interconnected pyramids, which increase in height and fan outwards towards the four corners of the cultural plaza. A clerestory between each volume creates a dynamic play of light and shade internally, while illuminating the building from within to create a beacon for the new cultural quarter at night. Visitors approach via a gentle ramp and stair, which are integrated with the sunken plaza to create an informal amphitheatre. The arrival sequence culminates in a dramatic overview of the Grand Gallery.

The interior is designed to be highly flexible to accommodate a changing programme of displays. The Grand Gallery is arranged over a single level, which can be subdivided to create individual exhibition spaces, and the services are fully integrated with the structure. The children’s gallery, group entrance lobby, café, restaurant and support spaces are arranged around sunken courtyards to draw in daylight.

The building’s efficient passive design responds to Datong’s climate. High-level skylights take advantage of the building’s north and north-west orientation, using natural light to aid orientation while minimising solar gain and ensuring the optimum environment for the works of art. A high-performance enclosure further reduces energy use. The roof, which accounts for 70 per cent of the exposed surface area, is insulated to twice building code requirements and, with just 10 per cent glazing, maintenance requirements are also minimised.

Luke Fox, a senior partner at Foster + Partners:
“We are delighted to reveal designs for the new museum and look forward to working with the city to take the project to the next stage. When complete, Datong’s new quarter will be the centre of the city’s cultural life, with the new museum as its ‘urban room’ – a dynamic space, open to everyone to meet and enjoy its different displays and activities.”

  • chris

    i like this. its like a cooler version of the sydney opera house.

    • Chris

      Are you implying that Norman Foster would ever be so audacious as to imitate a previous design? Preposterous.

    • i would seriously question you judgement on architecture on that statement!

    • Thanks for that comment Chris. I'm not sure if it's meant to be humorous but it made me chuckle.

    • If I should be so bold…I doubt even Norman Foster thinks that.

    • The Sydney Opera House is cool. Stop trolling. :P

  • Sensible

    A flat version of the Sydney Opera House, but without the aesthet.

  • Fred Flinstone

    will probably feel dramtic and 'cool' once you visit it, lacks a personnel charm that you can identify with. No narrative, no excitiment, another project…after the last project, before the next project, just another project to splash the architectural front pages for, and i can only hope, a mere day or two, untill it is banished.

  • Nelly

    As a design that seems to put iconism above functionality, as many buildings do nowadays, the building is certainly kin to the Sydney Opera House. However surely the Sydney Opera House as an icon cannot be compared to for "coolness". Who will remember this building in 50 years time, let alone 10? More to the point, what does it look like from the ground, rather than from the point of view of an irrelevant bird?

  • amazing! i love how the textures are being played with as well as the concrete.

  • Graema

    Why can’t we see any plans or sections?

  • Nino

    Reminds me more of Serra than Sydney.

  • barry herem

    Yes, more like Serra than Sydney, which means it has a long long way to go to reach The Opera House. Why the very idea!