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UCCA Dune, a New ‘Guggenheimian’ Museum by the Sea

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UCCA Dune, a New ‘Guggenheimian’ Museum by the Sea
Image courtesy of Open Architecture

UCCA proudly presents its first museum beyond Beijing, UCCA Dune, opening this fall. At first glance, it is absolutely breathtaking. This architectural splendor is located about 300km from Beijing, three and a half hours by car or 90 minutes by train from the capital. Establishing itself as China’s new art destination, UCCA Dune is situated in the Aranya Gold Coast Community in Beidaihe District, Hebei Province. It is designed by OPEN Architecture and has been built by Aranya, who have additionally teamed up with the UCCA Foundation in supporting the museum’s operations and programing. UCCA Dune’s exhibitions will be managed from the Beijing flagship, presenting two or more shows per year according to UCCA director, Philip Tinari. He states how “Doing the programming is like having another gallery, it will supplement and complement the main museum. This marks a first for us, and we are open to further opportunities.”

“This space is nearly Guggenheimian in its specificity. It would also work spectacularly for a one artist show.”

Exhibitions are set to unfold in dialogue with the building’s architecture along with its natural surroundings. UCCA Dune’s inaugural exhibition is titled “After Nature”, and will “explore the shifting relationship between humans and nature against the backdrop of China’s last three decades of breakneck development. This exhibition will seek to unite artists of different backgrounds through their distinctive concern for ethics as well as the aesthetics of living, individually or collectively, with regards to the natural world. This project, a multigenerational show of nine Chinese artists, will include Zhuang Hui, Li Shan and Liang Shaoji. Tinari states how “This space is nearly Guggenheimian in its specificity. It would also work spectacularly for a one artist show.”

Image courtesy of Philip Tinari via Instagram 

UCCA Dune is designed by Li Hu and Huang Wenjing of OPEN Architecture. The building spans a total area of 930 square meters, including seven indoor and three outdoor galleries. Facing the Bohai Sea, the building’s exterior is largely covered by the surrounding sand dunes. The architects, inspired by the image of a child playing in a sandbox, tunnelled beneath the dunes, creating a series of interconnected, hidden “caves”— both humanity’s earliest living environment, and site of artistic creation. The museum blends into its natural surroundings, becoming a secluded refuge. Portions of this stunning institution are burrowed under the sand; a smaller second building constructed by next year will be built in the water and partly submerged. This will only be reachable at low tides by a narrow causeway.

Image courtesy of Philip Tinari via Instagram 

This project was awarded the prestigious “Best of Best” designation by the Iconic Awards 2017 for the category of “Concept.” In a release, the architects described the building: “With ever-changing expressions and temperaments, the sky and sea stimulate boundless creative energy. A spiral staircase leads to the lookout on the sand dune, guiding souls filled with curiosity to rise up from the caves, and be deeply touched by the vast openness of the sky and sea. Through a narrow passage, they leave the caves in the sand dunes and head toward the realm of the sea.”

OPEN Architecture is a long-time UCCA collaborator, having provided most recently the distinctive exhibition design for UCCA’s exhibition “The New Normal: China, Art, and 2017.’’ Founded by Li Hu and Huang Wenjing in New York City, OPEN established its Beijing office in 2008. Some built and on-going projects by OPEN include: the Gehua Youth and Cultural Center, Garden School/Beijing No.4 High School Fangshan Campus, Tsinghua Ocean Center, Pingshan Performing Arts Center, Tank Shanghai, UCCA Dune, and Chapel of Sound.

Image courtesy of Philip Tinari via Instagram 

UCCA was founded in 2007 by Guy and Myriam Ullens, and last year was purchased by a group of investors. Projects have since included an expansion of the centre’s main hall, and a separate renovation is currently underway of an adjacent building in 798 scheduled to be completed in November 2018

 

For more information on the Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art, click here


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.



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