Datong Art Museum

Datong Art Museum

Foster + Partners

Intersecting soil toned peaks erupt from the earth to form the dynamic Datong Art Museum by Foster + Partners, conceived as an important new cultural destination in China.

Located in Datong, a city in the north of Shanxi province, the building opened its doors to the public with a special exhibition featuring oil paintings done by local artists, after almost a decade of construction.

Erected among three other major buildings within Datong New City’s cultural plaza, the museum design is set to become a hub for creative industries in the region, which aims to recharge its infrastructure.[1]

The centrepiece of the 32,000-square-metre venue 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.

The space is flexible and efficient – services are integrated with the structure and the gallery can be accessed directly by an articulated 40-foot container vehicle to install large-scale sculptures, stage and lighting equipment.

The building’s sculptural form has been conceived as a landscaped terrain with a series of interconnected pyramids emerging from below the earth – the gallery spaces are sunken below ground and surrounded by landscaped plazas.

Complementing the museum’s cultural programme are a series of spaces dedicated to education and learning, including a children’s gallery, media library, archive and art storage facilities.[2]

Visitors are guided towards the museum by strong diagonal paths in the landscaping. The entrance is via a winding sequence of ramps, which lead down into an open sunken plaza – this also provides an amphitheatre for outdoor performances.

Entering the building, visitors arrive at a mezzanine level that reveals a spectacular overview of the Grand Gallery, the social heart of the museum, which measures 37 metres in height and spans almost eighty metres.[3]

The form of the pyramidal roofscape, which varies in height, resulted from the building’s large structural span that ensures the galleries are flexible and column-free.

The roofscape is clad in weathering-steel plates, which have been arranged in a linear formation to accentuate the shape of the peaks and help drain water.[4]

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 centrepiece of the 32,000 sqm venue, top-lit exhibition space measuring 37 metre high and spanning almost 80 metre long, in which artists will can to create large-scale works of art.[5]

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.[6]

  1. Foster + Partners’ Datong Art Museum in China features intersecting pyramidal roofs / https://www.stirworld.com/see-news-foster-partners-datong-art-museum-in-china-features-intersecting-pyramidal-roofs
  2. Datong Art Museum / https://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/datong-art-museum/
  3. Datong Art Museum / Foster + Partners / https://www.archdaily.com/974628/datong-art-museum-foster-plus-partners#:~:text=Datong%20Art%20Museum%20%E2%80%93%20an%20important,creative%20industries%20in%20the%20region.
  4. Foster + Partners shelters subterranean art gallery with pyramidal roofscape / https://www.dezeen.com/2022/01/06/foster-partners-datong-art-museum-china/
  5. FOSTER AND PARTNERS DATONG ART MUSEUM OPENS TO THE PUBLIC / https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/foster-and-partners-datong-art-museum-opens-public
  6. Datong Art Museum | Foster + Partners / https://www.archilovers.com/projects/56028/datong-art-museum.html#info

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