He Art Musem (HEM) by Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando reveals design for He Art Museum in China

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando has released visuals of the He Art Museum in Shunde, China, which opens later this year.

The He Art Museum, or HEM, will be made from a series of stacked disks and will have a double helix spiral staircase at its centre.

He Art Museum (HEM) by Tadao Ando
Tadao Ando has released images of the He Art Museum

Running from the ground floor to the fourth, this staircase frames a central oculus that turns this core into a lightwell.

Photos released by Ando's studio show the concrete frame of the double helix staircase in situ. HEM is due to open in March 2020.

He Art Museum (HEM) by Tadao Ando
The museum will be based around a concrete staircase

The four overlapping circular storeys will form HEM's asymmetric profile. At the base there will also be a square exhibition space.

HEM will be a showcase for the art and culture of the Lingnan region, which includes Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan.

He Art Museum (HEM) by Tadao Ando
The staircase is a double helix

The museum is funded by Midea Group director He Jianfeng, son of billionaire He Xiangjian. He, or 和 in Chinese characters, means harmony, balance and union – words Ando said he took as a starting point for his design.

"I want to create a museum that can synthesise southern China's rich diverse cultures that stretches many millennia and the influences that birthed Lingnan architecture," said Ando.

"I imagined HEM as an energetic central anchor point to all the artistic and regional custom, climate, landscape and civilisation in Lingnan."

He Art Museum (HEM) by Tadao Ando
HEM is set to open in March

Water is a key part of architecture in these regions, with the canals and waterways of Jiangnan earning its towns the nickname of Venice in the east.

A pond next to the HEM will reflect its facade and create a cooling effect in the subtropical climate.

The circular stories set over a square are a reference to ancient Chinese cosmology and philosophy, which imagined the heavens as round and the earth as square.

Tadao Ando, who was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995, has recently created an exhibition space in Chicago, and is turning the Paris stock exchange into an art museum.