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Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design Magazine

The Museum that is Immense Inside

Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China with a vast white mass of void that makes the interiors look much bigger than it actually is.

Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design Magazine

The MOAE– Huamao Museum of Art Education in Ningbo, China, by Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira is a mass of structure with an undulating surface that seems to rise from a hillside. The architects say that the museum is small from the outside but its interior appears immense due to the bright, all-white exhibition spaces that develop around an enormous void.

Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design MagazineCarlos Castanheira says, “Museum must be big. Inside. A Museum must be bright. Inside.”

The Art Education Museum is following these principles; a small museum that is immense inside.

Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design MagazineArchitects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design MagazineLeaning against on the hillside, its undulating form hovers above the ground, intriguing in its elegance and mystery.

Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design Magazine

“Nothing is obvious in this little building. The public entrance is reached after passing around the form of the building and experiencing an imposed, absorbing compression, to then be released into a vast space, the full height of the building, where a snaking ramp links all the floor levels. This exercise of compression and release is constant during the visit,” explains the architect on the form and the calming white interior space.

Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design Magazine

This diversity in routes and the interconnection of spaces makes this small building vast inside. Its volume is equally challenging. From the exterior, it is suspended above the ground as it undulates in its metal cladding. It reflects the ever-changing daylight that makes the form move and transform. Inside, the introspective calm of the exhibition spaces contrasts with the movement of the visitors circulating in the enormous void.

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Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design Magazine

The architect hints at the dynamism of art through this building, letting the reflective nature of the interiors play its role in the mind of the visitors. He says, “Dynamism is taught through Art. Size doesn’t matter, but a Museum must have a Big Soul.”

Architects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design MagazineArchitects Alvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira design an art museum in Ningbo, China - Scale Architectural and Design Magazine

PROJECT DETAILS:

MoAE – Huamao Museum of Art Education – Ningbo

Client: Ningbo Huamao Education Culture Investment Ltd.

Location: Dongqian Lake, Ningbo, China

Total Building Area 5,300 square meter

Architects: Álvaro Siza with Carlos Castanheira

Portugal’s Office: CC&CB, Architects, Lda.

PROJECT ARCHITECT:

1st phase (schematic design) – Luis Reis, Elisabete Queirós, Pedro Carvalho

2nd phase (design development/construction) – Pedro Carvalho

PROJECT TEAM:

Jorge Santos, Joana Soeiro, Sara Pinto, Susana Oliveira, Francesca Tiri,

Rita Ferreira, Diana Vasconcelos, Inês Bastos. Luísa Felizardo

3d models and renderings: Germano Vieira, Sara Noronha

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