Construction begins on the new National Art Museum of China

by Katie Buckley | 23 Sep 2014

Following a lengthy competition process ending in 2013, French architect Jean Nouvel and the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD) have begun work on the greatly-anticipated National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing.

Located in Beijing's Olympic Park – a legacy from the 2008 Games – the NAMOC will occupy 130,000sq m (1,399,308sq ft) of space as part of a new cultural district in the park itself, near to the Forbidden City. The Museum is expected to be hugely popular, attracting an estimated 12 million visitors per annum.

The NAMOC’s collections will range from the Ming Era artefacts to modern day objects, with developers aiming to make the site one of the best museums in the world. Speaking at a press conference on 18 September, Jean Nouvel commented: “Our goal is to protect the miracles created with ink throughout the centuries, to reveal the force of living art... to welcome the artist of tomorrow. The museum is a milestone that now establishes architecture as a civilisational medium, as the memorial symbiosis of nature and human expression”

The design features a wrap around perforated facade, allowing natural light to filter into an internal atrium which will house an indoor garden, spanning the entire height of the structure.

The facade offers protection of the internal garden come rain or shine

Internally, the largest exhibition space, the Summer Hall, will be crowned with a decorative gold ceiling, inspired by Beijing’s architectural heritage of traditional painted ceilings and large roofs. This part of the design will be a piece of art in itself, showcasing a sequential “theoretical view of the history of Chinese art and culture from the fifteenth century up to the current day.”

The gold-carved Summer Hall ceiling

Nouvel added: “The NAMOC is written in space as a fragment of an ideogram shaped by an artist over a long period of time, giving it both a sense of mastery and voluntary incompleteness: by taking off the ground it imposes itself into the sky. It thus resists the laws of gravity while asserting its presence.”

Although timescale and budget have yet to be announced for the project, it is sure to make a definitive impact on Beijing's Olympic Park and the city as a whole. Flanking Herzog and de Meuron’s Birds Nest Stadium, the NAMOC looks set to become a cultural destination in its own right.

Following a lengthy competition process ending in 2013, French architect Jean Nouvel and the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD) have begun work on the greatly-anticipated National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing. Located in Beijing's Olympic Park – a legacy from the 2008 Games – the NAMOC will occupy 130,000sq m (1,399,308sq ft) of space as part of a new cultural district in the park itself, near to
The museum will play a key role in Beijing's new cultural quarter, filling the 2008 Olympic site / Ateliers Jean Nouvel & BIAD
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