ps. This project is from gooood website. The most interested part for me is about the facade materials used in this project: translucent stone.

NAMOC will form the centerpiece of a new cultural district in Beijing. Located to the north of the city center in the Olympic Park, the district will be comprised of four museums. NAMOC will occupy the most important site facing the central axis of the Olympic Park. The primary goal of the competition brief was to create a design that addresses the concept of a 21st century Chinese architecture. We created a design that is uniquely tailored to China and its rich cultural history, evoking historical models without copying them, to create an innovative building unlike anything else in the world.

Throughout our projects we have been looking for a way to express movement with inert materials like the Greeks did with the horses and soldiers in the Elgin marbles and like the Indian Shiva dancing figures. Our effort to express subtle movement in the façade is what leads us to studying glass.

The façade is clad with a new material developed by Gehry Partners – translucent stone. Evocative of the most precious Chinese materials, it has the qualities of jade. Of all the materials we explored, we found glass to be the most transcendent and symbolic of Chinese landscape paintings, of moving water, of the mountains covered in mist. It has gravitas that creates an emotional impact on visitors. It gives the building a stately and noble appearance, appropriate for a national museum.

We experimented with the translucent stone in many different conditions and configurations, looked at it in various lights, and found that it has the ability to project movement. It changes beautifully with the light, becoming ephemeral, and allowing for different effects with artificial lighting, banners and projection. The glass allows the building to easily transform throughout the day and the seasons, as well as for festivals and for changing exhibitions.

The translucent stone is part of the innovative sustainable façade concept that incorporates a ventilated airspace to reduce the heating and cooling loads of the building. In addition, the airspace is used to display art banners and projections, which provides the ability for the building’s façade to change and remain current far into the future, even becoming a canvas for artist projects.

The building’s entries and interiors have been organized to accommodate an unprecedented number of patrons expected to visit the museum. The building has been designed to efficiently and comfortably accommodate 38,400 visitors per day and approximately 12 million visitors per year, enabling NAMOC to have the highest attendance of any museum in the world. Four distributed entries at each corner of the building facilitate the processing of a large number of visitors, and minimize any queuing of visitors. Each of the four entries is connected to one of four escalators systems that provide fast and efficient distribution of visitors to all parts of the museums. A ceremonial entrance is placed in the center of the west façade, facing the Olympic Park. The articulation of this entrance evokes the silhouette of a Chinese temple.

The building interiors are organized around a series of large public spaces, connected vertically by escalators. These spaces are inspired by pagoda and temple forms- rendered as occupiable voids; the shapes are only legible from the inside. The public spaces provide an orienting device for visitors to easily navigate the large museum, and establish a formal continuity between the shapes of the building façade and the interior of the museum. In addition to providing access to galleries, the public spaces provide opportunities for large scale art exhibit spaces and events.

The organization of the galleries was developed through discussions with NAMOC. Sixty percent of the galleries are dedicated to the permanent collections of 20th century Chinese art, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese folk art, and international art. The permanent collection is housed on the second, third, and fourth floors in gallery types to align with the requirements of the art. The ground floor, fifth floor, and roof top galleries are dedicated to changing contemporary art exhibitions. They are taller in height and have a greater variety of shape and scale.

Project Team:

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