National Art Museum of China design by UNStudio Architects

NAMOC Beijing – Building Information

Client: National Art Museum of China
Location; Beijing, China
Programme: National Art Museum, offering fixed and temporary exhibition spaces, educational facilities, offices, restaurants and shops
Scale: Building 99.700 m²
Status: Competition entry


Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Gerard Loozekoot with Joerg Petri, Sander Versluis and Tatjana Gorbatschewskaja, Aurelie Hsiao, Amanda Chan, Imola Berczi, Philip Meise, Tina Kortmann, Hans Kooij

Collaborating Artist: Song Dong
Façade, Structure, MEP, Acoustic: Bollinger & Grohmann, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Engineering: Bollinger & Grohmann, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Visualisations and Animation: Mir, Bergen, Norway

”Stone Drums” and ”MO BAO”

This design for the NAMOC presents an emblem of Chinese culture and a national museum of global significance for the 21st Century. The architectural concept is based on uniting dualities; past and future, day and night, inside and outside, calm and dynamic, large and small, individual and collective.

The two volumes of the building reference ancient Chinese ‘stone drums’, large drum-shaped stones bearing inscriptions in ancient Chinese. The exteriors of the two volumes are illuminated by art projections, creating a vast media facade as a contemporary translation of the ancient stone drum inscriptions.

Whilst the architecture of the museum is represented by the ancient artifact of the stone drum, the art within represents its spirit, or its “essence”. In the same way that the agile strokes of ink in a Chinese painting give spirit to a blank piece of paper, the art collection gives spirit to the museum.

The main focus of the design for the NAMOC is to create optimal and varied spaces for the display of art. Spaces of different character, but all offering extensive lighting possibilities and ample wall space in order to provide artists and curators with the optimal conditions in which to display their work and communicate their ideas. The design also incorporates high levels of circulation space, with the internal organisation divided into different routes, each guiding different visitor groups around themed sequences of art and additional programmes.

The NAMOC is strongly embedded within its cultural and urban context. The public urban plinth plateaus of the cultural district act as 24/7 connectors and attractors between the levels of the street, the underground, and the museum volumes.


本馆的设计理念着重特显其在国际上的重要意义- 代表21世纪的美术馆,同时印记悠远的中华文化。建筑藉由不同的层次手法聚合二元:过去与未来、日与夜、内与外、静与动、个人和集体等。两座建筑体象征秦石鼓,当艺术品呈现在其表皮上的电子屏幕,即变成全球最大的多媒体屏幕。如果“鼓”是建筑的“骨”“肉”“皮”,那“墨”将成为建筑的“血”和“神韵”。这座当代国家美术馆既是散发文化精神的“石鼓”,又是聚集“墨宝”的“墨堡”。艺术作品在美术馆中,恰似墨在宣纸上的灵动。



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