Beijing, January 21, 2019 – OMA has completed the first part of the refurbishment of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, China’s oldest private museum for contemporary art, re-positioning the centre in the 798 Art District in Beijing. The newly designed façade, forecourt and entrance open up the center to its surroundings, revealing UCCA’s activities to the audience of the 798 art district. With glimpses of the exhibitions discernible from the streetscape, the curiosity of passers-by is triggered and UCCA’s significance for the district becomes clearly visible to the public domain.
The development of UCCA and Beijing’s 798 district are closely intertwined. Since UCCA opened its doors in 2007, the contemporary art community in China developed rapidly and the visitors to the 798 district multiplied to 5 million visitors per year. But lacking an overall masterplan, the art district gradually morphed; large-scale industrial halls merged into a congested ensemble of disparate architectural and programmatic elements, with ad hoc rehabilitations and patchwork renovations.
With the re-design of UCCA, OMA reveals the original industrial spaces by demolishing later extensions and modifications and using the formal composition and hierarchy of these spaces as basis for the centre’s new internal organization and program. A number of interventions are added to the existing structures of which, most significantly, an informal auditorium, which runs from the interior to the exterior forecourt and functions as a public forum, reflecting the open relation between the institute and the public domain, and a sculpted glass façade. The new façade, a thin glass veil elegantly curving and folding around the auditorium, the existing columns and the cores, is transparent yet clearly present; it’s wrinkled geometry complements the formal appearance of the existing red building and invites visitors to enter UCCA.
Chris van Duijn，OMA本次改造的项目负责合伙人表示，“UCCA既有的强烈公共属性，在本次改造中得以更好地揭示出来。改造后UCCA与其周边环境拥有了更紧密的关联，这会使它自然地成为798区域毋庸置疑的焦点”。项目负责协理Inge Goudsmit则提及，改造过程中和UCCA的良好合作，使对此场地建筑文脉的梳理与再建成为可能。“原有的建筑都有自己独特的空间品质，而本轮更新创造出在街道中就清晰可见的公共场所，提供了一个进入艺术世界的美好入口。”
Chris van Duijn, partner-in-charge of the project: “UCCA initially started as a pioneer in promoting Chinese contemporary art and has in the 11 years since become one of China’s leading institutes with a strong public relevance. This current status is reflected in the new design through the public and dynamic character. The strengthened relation between UCCA and its surroundings will make it the natural epicenter of the 798 district.”Inge Goudsmit, associate-in-charge of the project: “Thanks to an inspiring and productive collaboration with UCCA, we have been able to undo the myriad of physical barriers that occurred over time and to reinstate the clear difference between the existing buildings, each with their own spatial qualities. The regeneration has created a new communal space that is visible along the street, and forms a grand entrance to the world of art that lays behind.”
Location: Beijing, China
Site: 4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi
Program: Regeneration of Entrance Zone, Museum Store, Creative center for children and Café
Partner-in-Charge: Chris van Duijn
Associates-in-charge: Inge Goudsmit
Team: Aishwarya Keshav, Chen Lu, Cecilia Lei, Christina Wilkinson, Connor Sullivan, Hayger Chan, Junsik Oh, Dongmei Yao