December 21, 2018 - OPEN Architecture - UCCA Dune Art Museum
e-flux Architecture
December 21, 2018
December 21, 2018

OPEN Architecture

UCCA Dune construction. Photo © OPEN.

UCCA Dune Art Museum

OPEN Architecture

openarch.com

UCCA Dune Art Museum

OPEN Architecture

openarch.com

The UCCA Dune, designed by OPEN Architecture and commissioned by Aranya, opened on October 13 with its inaugural exhibition. Located in the Aranya Gold Coast Community in Beidaihe, the UCCA Dune will be programmed and operated by the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), China's leading independent institution of contemporary art. The UCCA Foundation formally announced their involvement in early September. UCCA Dune is the foundation’s first museum outside of Beijing.

The museum, which faces the Bohai Sea, spans a total area of 930 square meters and includes seven indoor and three outdoor galleries. Its exterior is largely covered by surrounding sand dunes, allowing the museum to seamlessly blend into the beauty of its natural environment. While its exterior is fully integrated with nature, its interior spaces are a mysterious network of organically shaped "caves"—the primal home of mankind and the site of some of humanity's earliest artistic creations. The UCCA Dune's design has been internationally lauded, and was designated "Best of Best" by the German Iconic Awards in 2017.

OPEN, UCCA, and Aranya share the same view regarding the relationship between humanity, nature, and art. The decision to create the art museum underneath the dunes surrounding it was born out of both a deep reverence for nature and a desire to protect the vulnerable dune ecosystem, formed by the wind and sea over thousands of years. Because of the museum, these sand dunes will be preserved instead of leveled to make space for ocean-view real estate developments, as has happened to other dunes along the shore.

A series of cell-like connected spaces accommodate the UCCA Dune’s rich and varied programs, including differently-sized galleries, studios, and a café. After passing through a long, dark tunnel and a small reception area, the space suddenly opens up as visitors enter the largest multifunctional gallery, where a beam of daylight from the skylight above silently yet powerfully fills the space. A spiral staircase leads to a lookout on the sand dune, guiding curious audiences from the dark recesses of the museum’s cave-like galleries to the vast openness of sky and sea above.

Looking through different openings framed by the building, museum-goers can observe the ever-changing expressions of the sky and sea throughout the day. In the near future, a long walkway will be built opposite the UCCA Dune, extending into the ocean. When the tide is low and the walkway rises above the water, people will be able to walk to the Sea Art Museum, which will rise out of the sea like a solitary rock. Together, these two museums will form a “Dialogue by the Sea.”

UCCA Dune’s inaugural exhibition, After Nature, will explore the shifting relationship between humans and nature against the backdrop of China’s last three decades of breakneck development. The museum’s full slate of exhibitions and projects will unfold in dialogue with the building’s unique form and relationship to its natural surroundings.

To learn more about the museum and other ongoing works at OPEN, please contact press [​at​] openarch.com.

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