'A Chinese puzzle of interlocking spaces': Ole Scheeren completes Guardian Art Center in Beijing

Our architecture has reconciled the city’s complex narratives and offers a new perspective on the relationship between the historic and modern city with a building that reflects Chinese identity in a contemporary way
– Ole Scheeren

German architect Ole Scheeren has completed the much-anticipated Guardian Art Center on the doorstep of Beijing’s historic Forbidden City.

The building is a hybrid cultural institution, featuring museum galleries, conservation facilities, restaurants and a hotel. It also claims to have the world’s first custom-built auction house.

The centre’s lower portion is a series of nested stone volumes that echo the scale and materiality of the adjacent traditional hutong courtyard houses, while a floating glass ring above “exemplifies Beijing’s status as a global metropolis”.

In a design statement, Büro Ole Scheeren said: “The ring’s placement atop the lower stone pixels lends the building a sense of weight and gravitas that ties it to Beijing’s architectural character.

“The contrast between the structure’s complimentary elements creates a vibrant aesthetic that acknowledges the complexity and multivalence of a contemporary city.”

According to Scheeren himself, the result “embeds multiple layers of abstracted cultural and historic notions” and is “a statement of humbleness in proximity to the Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City”.

Light enters the building through several thousand circular perforations in the stone volumes, creating an abstracted landscape based on the famous 14th-century Chinese painting ‘Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains’.

Inside, a 1,700sq m (18,300sq ft) column-free exhibition space dominates the heart of the structure. It has been designed for maximum flexibility, with movable partitions and ceiling systems allowing for different configurations for exhibitions, events and auctions.

A series of smaller, more intimate rooms surround this space to accommodate other aspects of the auction house, with the conservation and restoration facilities situated in the basement.

Moving up through the building, the stone pixels provide discrete spaces to accommodate the centre’s restaurants, administrative offices and a bookshop, while the glass ring at the top houses a hotel.

The result, according to Scheeren, is “a Chinese puzzle of interlocking cultural spaces and public functions that fuse art and culture with events and lifestyle”.

“The emphasis on versatility and variety reflects the Guardian Art Center’s remit as a diverse and inclusive public space,” he said.

“The building’s configuration is intended to interconnect all of its functions.

“It’s museum as well as a cultural event machine. And it is also a space that incorporates lifestyle elements and educational facilities."

The significance of the site’s history – which stands at the intersection of Wangfujing, Beijing’s most famous shopping street, and Wusi Dajie, the site where China’s New Cultural Movement originated – led to dozens of proposed architectural designs over the past two decades.

Explaining why his proposals succeeded where others failed, Scheeren said: “Our architecture has reconciled the city’s complex narratives and offers a new perspective on the relationship between the historic and modern city with a building that reflects Chinese identity in a contemporary way.

“The completion of the Guardian Art Center positions architecture together with arts and culture as essential to the city’s future.”

The German architect, who used to be a partner at OMA, is best known for his Interlace housing development in Singapore, which scooped the Building of the Year prize at the 2015 World Architecture Festival; the 77-storey, 314m (1,030ft) tall ‘pixelated’ MahaNakhon skyscraper in Bangkok and two mixed-use concave towers, called Duo, again in Singapore.

He is currently developing designs for three high-rise landscaped towers Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and a stacked residential high-rise in Frankfurt, Germany.

Guardian Art Center  Beijing  China  Forbidden City  Ole Scheeren  Büro Ole Scheeren  Wusi Dajie  Wangfujing 
Related stories

Ole Scheeren and Andre Fu join forces for Andaz Singapore hotel

Ole Scheeren reveals design for vast Vietnam 'Sky Forest' towers open to the public

Ole Scheeren announces first European building: a green-topped Frankfurt tower

Ole Scheeren creates Thailand's tallest tower with twisting, 'pixellated' MahaNakhon

Diverse buildings recognised at World Architecture Festival; OMA and Buro Ole Scheeren's Interlace wins Building of the Year

Ole Scheeren creates art and culture civic complex for Beijing auctioneers

German architect Ole Scheeren has completed the much-anticipated Guardian Art Center on the doorstep of Beijing’s historic Forbidden City. The building is a hybrid cultural institution, featuring museum galleries, conservation facilities, restaurants and a hotel. It also claims to have the world’s first custom-built auction house. The centre’s lower portion is a series of nested stone volumes that echo the scale and materiality of the adjacent traditional hutong courtyard houses,
CLD,VAT,HAM,AAC,ARC,DES
The building is a hybrid cultural institution, featuring museum galleries, conservation facilities, restaurants, a hotel and an auction house
/ Iwan Baan
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6729     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6729     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Fabio Alemanno Design Ltd
Based on ancient knowledge – and confirmed by scientific research – warmth is one of the most important sources of healing and preventative therapy available.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The Green Heart at the centre of the Marina One development in Singapore
Mary Bowman studied at the University of Virginia and the Architectural Association
"Marina One was quite special in the degree of integration between the landscaping and architecture "

The Gustafson Porter + Bowman partner on the landscape projects changing the face of our cities

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
SPP has broken ground on a 519-room wellness-focused JW Marriott hotel and the project’s first residential property
"Now we’re talking about pedestrians as the most important members of the street community"

The new US neighbourhood designed to improve the health of its residents

Ito with CLADmag contributing editor Kim Megson at the Venice Biennale
Toyo Ito was born in Seoul in 1941. He studied architecture at the University of Tokyo
"I have one dream with my work. Architecture should equal nature"

The Pritzker Prize-winner talks about inspiration, battling bureaucracy and the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium saga with Kim Megson

The award-winning Salt Shed is an iconic structure in New York, designed to elevate a utilitarian building into a striking landmark
Claire Weisz
"I prefer to be labelled a feminist architect than a female architect. I’d love to work with more women"

The WXY co-founder and urbanist with a passion for improving our public spaces

features
"Millennials are pushing us architects to design hotels with distinct personalities"

Sameness is out, authenticity is in when it comes to designing for millennials says Greg Keffer

The Newspaper Cafe in Jinhua Architecture Park, China
Born in Kobe, Japan and later growing up in New York, Mori has become a trailblazer for women in architecture around the world
"Every decision you make, you should think seven generations ahead"

From a compressed earth cultural centre in Senegal to the sleek Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Mori’s work shares a clarity of purpose

featured supplier
Featured Supplier: EXF supports Third Space to create London’s largest functional training space at The Yard
Bespoke fitness manufacturer EXF has extended its relationship with Third Space, by supplying the luxury fitness group with London’s largest functional training rig at its Canary Wharf club.
cladkit product news
Zaha Hadid Design partners with Royal Thai to create carpet collection celebrating Zaha Hadid's legacy
The carpets capture Hadid's notable use of layering and interweaving as well as her use of light and shadow
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with carpet manufacturer Royal Thai to create a new carpet collection inspired by the work ...
David Rockwell partners with Jim Thompson for dream-inspired fabric collection
Rockwell has designed 12 multi-use fabrics inspired by dreams with long-time collaborator Jim Thompson
Lauren Heath-Jones
Renowned architect David Rockwell has created a collection of fabrics with long-time collaborator Jim Thompson. Called Dreams, the collection was ...
Designworks launches new glow-in-the-dark tile collection
The tiles contain light-absorbing luminous pigments so they glow-in-the-dark
Lauren Heath-Jones
High-end tile supplier Designworks has created a range of illuminous mosaic tiles for commercial use. Designed to bring light into ...
cladkit product news
Water inspires Zaha Hadid Design x Rosenthal collaboration
The collection consists of three smaller collections: Weave, Strip and Lapp. Weave was inspired by 'the fluid lines of Zaha Hadid's sketching hand'
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal to create a new collection of vases. Called the Lapp collection, ...
Aotta launches sound panels made from hemp husks
The panels are designed to maintain 'healthy spaces' and consist of Hemp husks fashioned into a natural porous membrane that absorbs sound
Lauren Heath-Jones
Russian design studio Aotta has developed a range of eco-friendly, sound-absorbing panels made from the waste products of hemp seeds. ...
John Pawson reimagines oil lantern for Wästberg
The Holocene No. 4 reflects Pawson's pared-back style and neutral palette
Lauren Heath-Jones
Swedish lighting company Wästberg has expanded its Holocene collection, with a new addition, Holocene No. 4, designed by acclaimed architect ...
cladkit product news
Bartok Design installs 'transformative' soaking tubs in SpaFusion at Pallazzo Varignana
Bartok Design creates traditional Japanese soaking tubs
Lauren Heath-Jones
Bartok Design, a Japan-based supplier of Ofuro (Japanese bathtubs), has completed a major installation at the newly opened SpaFusion at ...
Volvo partners with Reef Lab Designs to encourage ocean biodiversity
The tiles are made from marine-grade concrete and recycled plastic fibres
Lauren Heath-Jones
Car manufacturer Volvo has partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create an environmentally-friendly ...
Tredje Natur launches Climate Tile to bring green spaces to urban settings
Tredje Natur has installed the pilot system of its Climate Tile system in the Nørrebro area of Copenhagen
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish company Tredje Natur (Third Nature) has recently installed the pilot system of its innovative street paving system in the ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates