Architecture firm Büro Ole Scheeren has revealed images highlighting its work on the Guardian Art Center, a new cultural institution near Beijing's Forbidden City.

The venue is being called a "hybrid cultural institution," with plans to host diverse contemporary arts programming. Museum-quality galleries are joined by art conservation facilities as well as community features including restaurants, a hotel, event spaces and public transportation infrastructure.

The building's architecture, according to Büro Ole Scheeren, represents an attempt to find a balance between old and new while making reference to its surroundings.

In its lower portion, nested stone volumes echo the scale of the nearby traditional hutong courtyard houses, while above, a floating glass ring is intended to symbolize the city's status as a global metropolis.

Pixelated volumes found throughout the lower portion are made from grey basalt stone and are perforated to bring light to the building's interior. The pattern of the perforations is said to be based on the Chinese painting "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" by the celebrated 14th-century painter Huang Gongwang.

The contrast between the lower building and the floating ring above is intended to create a vibrant aesthetic for the complex contemporary city and the multi-faceted venue.

Inside, a 1,700-square-meter column-free exhibition space forms the heart of the space.

Architect Ole Scheeren says of the venue, "It's not a hermetic institution, but rather an acknowledgement of the hybrid state of contemporary culture. It is a Chinese puzzle of interlocking cultural spaces and public functions that fuse art and culture with events and lifestyle."

The Guardian Art Center is located at the intersection of Wangfujing, Beijing's most famous shopping street, and Wusi Dajie, the site where China's New Cultural Movement is said to have originated after the Qing Dynasty.


Cover Photo :  The Guardian Art Center by Ole Scheeren © Buro-OS. Photo by Iwan Baan. Guardian Art Center, Beijing, Ole Scheeren

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