Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Beijing Artist Village Gallery in China by Aedas
October 10th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Aedas
Sited near a quiet countryside site in Beijing, the Artist Village Gallery consists of a private museum and two private houses. The inspiration of the architecture originates from a Chinese watercolor painting, aiming to develop an environment that blurs architectural boundaries with natural surroundings, resulting in a series of fluid spaces that provide the visitor a unique experience. This project attempts to express an architecture that captures the beauty of Chinese ink paintings.
Concept Design: Ink Painting
Pure, clean and simple, the water and ink painting is one of China’s oldest art forms. Black and white brush strokes can achieve a variety of shades, generating spectacular, magical scenes of the world. Ink painting is also called “color ink”; its name reflects the change in shades of color; in a gradient of inked intensities, colors are born into the colorful; the blank canvas is thus expanded into an infinite realm. Ink paintings embody a unique Chinese view of the universe.
Located in Beijing, the project was commissioned by an older gentleman with an astonishing collection of ink paintings. Rooted deeply into the site’s culture and context, the form of the museum design attempts to express an architecture that captures the beauty of traditional Chinese ink paintings. From its design of the window pattern to the material selection, the project reveals a contemporary nostalgia to vernacular Beijing courtyard houses.
Elements of both the “real” and the “imagined” are manifested as spaces in architecture, and as shades of ink paintings. Referencing the ink painting composition, we broke up the typical museum spatial boundaries. Traditionally non-virtual, or real space boundaries, are blurred by a gentle curve marked by different densities of separated objects, in a delicate but ample intensity. Even though the materials used were mere traditional gray bricks and white walls, we render the building a canvas for unlimited thinking and imagination.
The building’s outer skin elegantly flows in and out to create interior spaces and at places, it brings the outer space inside of the building, resulting in a series of fluid spaces that provides the visitor a unique spatial experience.
Committed to the environment
Grey brick, used as a building material for thousands of years throughout northern China, has been chosen as the prime cladding material for the project. However, in this project, the way of using brick has pushed the use of this material beyond its traditional limit. The museum design took the brick’s symbolic meaning of Beijing’s vernacular architecture and took full advantage of current construction technology to replicate the marvelous aesthetics of the paintings in an architectural language.
The recycled traditional gray bricks are readily available as a very common local material. Pixilated windows have been designed to puncture the façade and provide moderate daylight where needed, restricting the undesirable direct sunlight. A Large skylight filters and diffuses the natural sunlight down to 2% to provide an ideal art display environment in the lobby space.
The whole building envelope design was aimed at maximizing energy efficiency; whilst grey water will be used to reduce the reliance on local water resources. It will be collected and stored during the rainy seasons within a proposed nearby retention pond; the pond itself becoming a water feature for the site.
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