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OPEN Architecture completes cave-like art museum in sand dunes of China

China - Nov 22, 2018 - 05:22   1966 views

Beijing-based architecture studio OPEN Architecture has completed a cave-like art museum in sand dunes of China. Called Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Dune Art Museum (UCCA), the building is located in the Aranya Gold Coast Community in Beidaihe and is carved into the sand, where it gently disappears.

The building is officially be programmed and operated by the UCCA Foundation, as announced in September this year. Countless years of wind have pushed the beach’s sand into a dune along the shore several meters high, stabilized by low-rising shrubs and other ground cover. 

The architects were inspired by children’s tireless digging in the sand, the museum lies beneath this mass of sand. 

"Digging" creates a series of connected soft spaces resembling caves, the primal form of human inhabitance and the earliest site of man’s artistic creation. Between the sea and the sand, a hidden place emerges, intimate to the body and soul," said the architects. 

The museum, encompassing a total of 930-square-metre area, is comprised of a series of cell-like connected spaces accommodating the UCCA Dune Art Museum’s rich and varied programs, including differently-sized 10 galleries, studios, and a café. 

After passing through a long, dark tunnel and a small reception area, the space suddenly opens up as visitors enter the largest multifunctional gallery, where a beam of daylight from the skylight above silently yet powerfully fills the space. 

A spiral staircase leads to a lookout on the sand dune, guiding curious audiences from the dark recesses of the museum’s cave-like galleries to the vast openness of sky and sea above.

"Looking through different openings framed by the building, museum-goers can observe the ever-changing expressions of the sky and sea throughout the day," added the firm. 

In the near future, a long walkway will be built opposite the UCCA Dune Art Museum, extending into the ocean. When the tide is low and the walkway rises above the water, people will be able to walk to the Sea Art Museum, which will rise out of the sea like a solitary rock. Together, these two museums will form a "Dialogue by the Sea."

Project facts

Year: 2018

Location: Qinhuangdao, China

Floor area: 930

Type: Architecture

Client: Aranya

Status: Completed

Principals in Charge: LI Hu, HUANG Wenjing

Project Team: ZHOU Tingting, WANG Mengmeng, HU Boji, FANG Kuanyin, Joshua PARKER, LU Di, LIN Bihong, YE Qing, Steven SHI, JIA Han.

Local Design Institute: CABR Technology Co., Ltd

Operated By: Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)

All images courtesy OPEN Architecture

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