National Art Museum of China
Project Title
National Art Museum of China
Alternate Titles
Located along a prominent cultural axis in Beijing, the competition scheme for the National Art Museum of China is an extroverted expression of the 21st-century museum: transparent, inviting, and visible to the city. The proposed museum houses a multistory series of galleries that visitors discover as a sequence of chambers, recalling the Mogao Caves filled with well-preserved painting and sculpture along the historic Silk Road. The museum is organized by layered, linear public circulation terraces, which face west toward Beijing’s grand axis and provide views of the lake and surrounding institutions. As in Mogao, the museum’s galleries are experienced as a string of chambers in which the visitor always returns to the western cliff, overlooking the valley, for orientation and reconnection to the city.

From the galleries visitors circulate into a grand public space of landscaped terraces. These are designed in the elaborate tradition of Chinese landscapes and gardens—full of surprising juxtapositions of plants, water, and sculpture, and offering places of intimacy and contemplation.

A great roof descends to the west from the ridge top toward the urban window facing the city. This roof unifies the museum, which is part of the larger ensemble of public cultural landmarks on the skyline. The roof, both solid and translucent, plays a major role in the building’s energy strategy.

Images on this page: 1 West elevation rendering; 2 West façade rendering; 3 Entrance rendering; 4 Entrance rendering; 5 Interior rendering; 6 Site plan; 7 Concept sketches; 8 Concept sketch; 9 Concept sketch

Beijing, China

Completion Date
Client: National Art Museum of China;

Size: 118,915 sq m (1,280,000 sq ft)

Competition: Lost

Project Type
Safdie Architects
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