Work starts on Foster’s China museum

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Architecture giant Foster + Partners has released images of its Datong Art Museum in China following the start of construction on the project.

The 32,000m2 museum will open in 2013 to represent China in the ‘Beyond the Building’ Basel Art international tour.

It is one of four major new projects within Datong New City’s cultural plaza and relates in scale to the three other cultural buildings in the group.

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Luke Fox, a senior partner at Foster + Partners, said: “When complete, Datong’s new quarter will be the centre of the city’s cultural life, with the new museum as its ‘urban room’ – a dynamic space, open to everyone to meet and enjoy its different displays and activities.”

The museum’s centrepiece is the Grand Gallery, a huge, top-lit exhibition space measuring 37m high and spanning 80m, in which artists will be commissioned to create large-scale work.

Externally, the building’s form is conceived as an erupted landscape. The entire museum is sunk into the ground with only the peaks of the roof visible at ground level.

The roof is clad in earth-toned Corten steel, which will weather naturally over time. It is composed of four interconnected pyramids, which increase in height and fan outwards towards the four corners of the cultural plaza.

Foster + Partner’s scheme also contains a children’s gallery, group entrance lobby, café, restaurant and support spaces, which are arranged around sunken courtyards to draw in daylight.

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