Photos reveal Tadao Ando’s completed art museum in China

Photos reveal Tadao Ando’s completed art museum in China

New images have been released of Pritzker Prize winner Tadao Ando’s completed cylindrical art museum in Guangdong, China.

The He Art Museum, known as HEM, consists of a set of interlocking concrete discs that wrap around a pair of sweeping spiral staircases at its center.

Designed by Ando, ​​it is recognized as a landmark in the area and is one of five projects shortlisted for Cultural Building of the Year for the Dezeen Awards 2020.

Above: The central courtyard inside the art museum. Top image: The museum’s cylindrical exterior

The He Art Museum was commissioned by Midea Group director He Jianfeng, son of billionaire He Xiangjian, to be home to the He family’s contemporary Chinese art collection.

Ando design evolved from the family name, which means harmony, balance and union.

Spiral stairs inside the central courtyard of the Art Museum
Two spiral staircases wrap around the courtyard

“I hope that HEM will become a new cultural landmark in the Canton region and, at the same time, a meeting point and a harmonious space for everyone,” Ando said.

“I envisioned HEM as an active central linking point for all of Lingnan’s artistic, regional, climate, landscape and civilization customs.”

The courtyard and stairs inside the art museum were designed by Tadao Ando
Spiral stairs form a frame that brings natural light into the interior

As the new images reveal, the group of concrete discs that make up the museum extends from the ground floor to the fourth floor and is surrounded by a vertically ribbed facade.

It covers an area of ​​16,000 square metres, and contains 8,000 square meters of exhibition space, along with a café and a library.

An exhibition inside the Tadao Ando Art Museum in China
The museum’s slatted façade also helps illuminate the galleries

The heart of the museum is the central courtyard, which houses the stairs. These spiral upward to connect all four floors and frame a skylight above that acts as a skylight.

This eye helps maximize natural light within exhibition spaces and has been included by Ando as a reference for the ethereal use of light in churches.

“Throughout the history of Western architecture, architects have been adept at using light such as that we see in churches; this had a profound influence on Ando and his approach to design,” Heim said.

“The central well floods each floor of exhibition spaces with natural light, creating spaciousness, clarity and a symbol of hope.”

Concrete gallery inside the art museum designed by Tadao Ando
Its concrete structure is completely exposed

Inside, the building’s concrete shell is displayed throughout the museum, providing a simple sculptural backdrop to the artwork.

An outdoor pond completes the scheme and is designed to reflect its façade while creating a cooling effect in the summer months.

A pond adjacent to the Art Museum designed by Tadao Ando
There is a pond next to the museum

HEM was scheduled to open in March 2020, shortly after Ando revealed images of the scheme. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the museum was opened with a soft launch in October.

The first exhibition at the museum is From the Earthly World: the art museum’s inaugural exhibition, which will take place in two stages.

A pond adjacent to the Art Museum designed by Tadao Ando
The pond is designed to help cool the building

Ando is a Japanese architect who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995. Among his most famous projects is the Church of Light, of which he created a mock-up in 2017 for an exhibition.

His other recent projects include the conversion of the 18th-century Stock Exchange building in Paris into a contemporary art gallery and the Wrightwood 659 exhibition space in Chicago.

Other projects in China shortlisted for Cultural Building of the Year in the 2020 Dezeen Awards include the Zhang Yan Cultural Museum designed by Shenzhen Horizontal Design and the Jiunvfeng Study on Mount Tai designed by Gad Line+ Studio.

Photography courtesy of HEM.

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