Architecture

Four overlapping steel pyramids form sunken art museum

Four overlapping steel pyramid...
The Datong Art Museum was designed by prestigious British firm Foster + Partners and took over 10 years to realize
The Datong Art Museum was designed by prestigious British firm Foster + Partners and took over 10 years to realize
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The Datong Art Museum was designed by prestigious British firm Foster + Partners and took over 10 years to realize
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The Datong Art Museum was designed by prestigious British firm Foster + Partners and took over 10 years to realize
The interior of the Datong Art Museum is arranged around a large central gallery
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The interior of the Datong Art Museum is arranged around a large central gallery
The Datong Art Museum's roofline is finished in rusted steel and is highly insulated
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The Datong Art Museum's roofline is finished in rusted steel and is highly insulated
The Datong Art Museum takes the form of four overlapping pyramids
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The Datong Art Museum takes the form of four overlapping pyramids
The Datong Art Museum's roofline has been designed to resemble natural peaks rising up out of the ground
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The Datong Art Museum's roofline has been designed to resemble natural peaks rising up out of the ground
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Having begun construction back in 2011, Foster + Partners' Datong Art Museum has now finally officially opened to visitors. The ambitious arts building is defined by a complex roofline made up of four overlapping steel pyramids that are designed to resemble natural peaks rising out of the ground.

The Datong Art Museum measures 30,000 sq m (roughly 320,000 sq ft), and features three main floors, plus a basement level. Most of the building's structure has been sunken into the ground to try and ensure it doesn't dominate the local landscape, which has been undergoing development. In addition to its visual complexity, the roof itself is well insulated to help tackle the local weather, which can produce significantly fluctuating temperatures. Its form also helps to drain rainwater and skylights are installed to maximize natural light.

"The roof is clad in naturally oxidized curved steel plates that help drain water and give a rich, three-dimensional quality to the surface," explains the firm. "The building's efficient passive design responds to Datong's climate. High-level skylights take advantage of the building's north and north-west orientation, using natural light to aid orientation while minimizing solar gain and ensuring the optimum environment for the works of art. Sinking the building into the ground along with a high-performance enclosure further reduces energy needs. The roof is mostly solid and is insulated to twice the building code requirements."

The interior of the Datong Art Museum is arranged around a large central gallery
The interior of the Datong Art Museum is arranged around a large central gallery

The museum’s landscape includes a series of winding ramps which lead down into a sunken plaza that serves as an amphitheater for outdoor performances. From here, the interior of the building proper is accessed. This is arranged around a large Grand Gallery that has a ceiling with a maximum height of 37 m (121 ft) and a minimalist decor that puts the focus on the art. Elsewhere in the museum are a dedicated children's gallery, a smaller education center, and a media library, plus there are facilities for artist residencies and conferences.

The museum has launched with an exhibition featuring oil paintings by local artists and joins a remarkably strong selection notable museums throughout China, including the Shanghai Astronomy Museum, the National Maritime Museum of China, and the upcoming Delta Natural History Museum.

Source: Foster + Partners

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2 comments
2 comments
Jinpa
Datong is where? Right next door to Mongolia? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datong
ljaques
I see that the horse people of Mongolia have a strong liking for art and the massive squandering of funds. What was the cost, $500k per square foot? Oops, I mean 3.2 million yuan. (a bucket full of Tugrug)