The new Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts extension by Neri&Hu

The new entrance of the museum in red travertine stands out in the urban space, turning into a lantern in the evening. Among the references, the iconic Stadsbiblioteket of Stockholm.

Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, based in Shanghai and London, has designed the expansion of the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts, in Xi’an, the capital of the Chinese province of Shaanxi and on of the four ancient capitals of China.

The need was to enrich the east entrance of the museum making it more attractive and iconic. To answer to this request Neri&Hu got inspired by the idea of a traditional earthenware lantern with a circular shape, able to draw the attention of visitors to the new cultural and commercial services offered by the museum, but also to serve as a source of urban lighting. The result is a building that looks like the famous Stockholm Public Library in Sweden, designed back in 1918 by Gunnar Asplund.

Located at the beginning of the Datang Everbright City of Xi’an, just south of the famous Great Wild Goose Pagoda, the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts consists of four parts: the partially sunken Base, the Sculptural Walk circulation enclosure, the elevated podium Platform, and lastly the Beacon. Partially lower than the level of the pre-existing square, the base was conceived in continuity with the public space, connecting the functions of the adjacent pedestrian street to those of a lowered pizza, which occupies the old exhibition spaces of the museum.

From the plaza to the ground floor, a series of sculptural escalators, playing with space through compressions and expansions, leads to the real underground museum. The Platform, which houses the commercial spaces, follows a composition language that clearly differs from the rest of the building, and appears as a grid in red travertine. On the second floor there is an outdoor terrace, conceived as an amphitheater to host various entertainment events.

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