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Tadao Ando

I want to create a museum that can synthesize southern China’s rich diverse cultures


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Tadao Ando has released images of the He Art Museum in Shunde, southern China.

The museum, which was due to launch in March but has had its opening postponed due to the coronavirus, was founded by local entrepreneur He Jianfeng. It is dedicated to China's regional Lingnan culture and will showcase a range of modern Chinese artworks and contemporary international artworks.

Before coming up with his design, Ando researched China's ancient philosophies and history, and Lingnan's architecture. Taking inspiration from the ancient Chinese philosophy that the sky is round and divine and therefore many civic and religious buildings should reflect the idea of the 'round sky' in their design, Ando has created a circular building. The museum features a central 'skywell' that floods the exhibition spaces with natural light and takes visitors from the ground floor to the fourth via two double helix staircases at its centre.

At the base of the four stacked circular galleries is a square ground floor volume housing a cafe, bookshop and additional gallery space.

A pond is wrapped around the building which, according to the architects: “Mimics Lingnan’s heritage of waterside pavilions and acts as a symbol that subtly gestures its geographic location on the Pearl River estuary.”

“I want to create a museum that can synthesize southern China’s rich diverse cultures that stretch many millennia and the influences that birthed Lingnan architecture,” said Ando.

“I imagined HEM as an energetic central anchor point to artistic and regional customs, the climate, landscape and civilisation in Lingnan. I look forward to seeing the artworks and programmes activate the building, stimulating provoking thoughts with high quality spaces and art.”

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