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Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

China Architecture News - Mar 02, 2023 - 13:47   2179 views

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Shanghai-based architecture studio Neri&Hu Design and Research Office has created "a meandering journey" in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi’an, China

Called The Urban Monument, the studio created a bold, sculptural and massive extension that invited people to an exploratory journey within the building. While navigating the building, visitors can deeply feel the sense of heaviness of the building. 

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Encompassing a total of 1,990-square-metre area, the building is located at the beginning section of Xi’an’s Datang Everbright City, south of the famed Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

The client commissoned Neri&Hu, led by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, to design a new architectural icon at the East Entry of the museum. 

In response to the brief, the studio worked on a proposal that "takes the idea of a monolithic urban monument as a guiding concept to not only satisfy the museum’s newly expanded cultural and commercial functions, but to also serve as an anchor and a durable symbol of social history for the surrounding urban fabric."

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Image © STUDIO FANG

The layout of the museum is based on a simple geometry: a rectangular base that is used for public amenities and a circular, sculptural massing where a lounge is situated in between the walls of the circular volume and the walls of the conic-shaped geometry. 

Retail units and escalators are placed at the base of the building, while inside the circular volume is dedicated to an amphitheater to increase public use, which is left open. 

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Image © STUDIO FANG

"Since the vicinity of the site is occupied by existing galleries, the design intervention minimizes the impact of the new building through careful consideration for the architectural massing and detailing," said Neri&Hu. 

While articulating the program elements, the studio divided the building into four parts: the partially sunken Base, the Sculptural Walk circulation enclosure, the elevated podium Platform, and lastly the Monument. 

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Image © STUDIO FANG

The entire base was finished with cast-in-place concrete. To be able to create a continuous ground floor at the base, it was partially sunken from the level of the existing plaza.

At the entry to the first floor, the architects has partially retained the original wide steps in which they descend down to connect to a sunken piazza. 

The former museum's spaces and restaurant, which were originally retained, are located at the solid base, alongside with newly inserted functions such as retail spaces and public restrooms.

According to the studio, "these inserted functions complement the activities of the adjacent pedestrian street."

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Image © STUDIO FANG

"A sense of drama and intrigue"

From the ground level plaza, a series of escalators lead to the underground museum on the second basement level. The architects also concealed the escalators within a sculptural form, featuring spaces of sectional play between compression and expansion, capped with a triple-story light well at the base of the sunken piazza, providing a sense of drama and intrigue. 

Hovering just above the sunken base is an elevated podium, called Platform. The Platform is expressed as a post and lintel construction, made of a grid of stone columns and glass curtain walls supporting a floating roof house retail spaces. 

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Image © STUDIO FANG

"This retail level is intentionally expressed as a curtain wall to highlight the separation between the carved language of the base, and the circular sculpted massing of the civic potency above," added the studio.

The Monument, making a bold statement in the building, houses a lounge on the second floor and an outdoor amphitheater above. The outer skin is composed of diamond-shaped red travertine masonry units arranged at intervals to accentuate the transmissivity of light.

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

On the northwest end of existing museum building, there is a passage that leads directly to the second-floor outdoor terrace, conceived as a hollowed-out bowl shaped amphitheater. 

As the studio explained, the terrace acts as "a grand extension" to the dining and entertainment programs of the lounge. 

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

This space can also be used as a forum which is open to the public as a venue for various activities, while also serving as a platform for private performances and catwalks. 

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Site plan

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Basement 2 floor plan

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Basement 1 floor plan

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Level 1 floor plan

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Level 2 floor plan

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Section

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Section

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

Section

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

East elevation

Neri&Hu creates a meandering journey in the extension of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi'an

West elevation

Neri&Hu previously enclosed a Chinese artifact with fragmented walls to form a teahouse in Fuzhou, China. The studio transformed a former industrial building into it's own Shanghai office

Neri&Hu was founded by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu in 2004. Based in Shanghai, the office works internationally to provide architecture, interior, master planning, graphic and product design services.  

Read on WAC's exclusive interview with the partners here

Project facts

Project: Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts Extension

Location: Xi’an, China

Client: Yungao Hotels (Group) Xi’an

Completion: December, 2021

Project type: Architecture

Program: Museum, retail

Gross area: 1,990sqm

Site area: 1,492sqm

Partners-in-charge: Lyndon Neri, Rossana Hu 

Associate-in-charge: Zhao Lei

Design team: Ivy Feng, Joy Han, Tian Hua, Da Wenbo, Bella Wu

Architecture design: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

Consultant

LDI: China Northwest Architectural Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd. 

Lighting: Linea Light (China) CO., LTD. 

Contractor: General Contractor: Power China Chonqing Engineering Co., Ltd.   

Special Features: Architecture, Red stone facade, The Sculpture (Escalator tunnel), Concrete base, The Glowing Lantern (bar&lounge), Amphitheatre (Roof), Light Well (Escalator tunnel), Patio Area

Architectural – Materials: Red Tranvertino, small Aggregate concrete, blackened Steel, Clear Glass, Stucco

All images © Zhu Runzi unless otherwise stated.

All drawings © Neri&Hu Design and Research Office. 

> via Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

concrete cultural building extension museum Neri&Hu