A new chapter in Chinese art history...

Nick Myall
Thursday 28 Jun 2018

This art gallery takes several cues from the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy

[From the architects…] This project is located in the hometown of traditional Chinese calligraphy, Shuyang, Jiangsu province, in China and is positioned as the country’s main calligraphy art gallery to display and inherit Shuyang calligraphic style.

Design idea

The concept of architecture abstracts the most fundamental three colours, black, white and red of Chinese calligraphy from rice-paper, brush-pen, seal and creates a pure space experience with pure colours. The aesthetical interest of the calligraphy in the architectural layout referring to Zheng Banqiao’s  calligraphic style is to respond to the ideological and practical work, the light and heavy, and the opening and closing of the calligraphy through controlling the size of the building, the space, the contrast of the materials and so on.

Design treatment

The largest exhibition hall along the street has the red-bricked exterior wall, like a condensed seal printed on the elegant scroll of ink and wash. The way of cutting the corner through the arc surface strengthens the iconic character of the building along the street, forming a unique lasting appeal. Red brick is Yixing clay brick, adopting three kinds of lining according to the different locations. The lower brick head outstand the wall, and the upper part intrudes the wall, and cut part is flatly lined, forming different textures.

The ink volume and angle are cut and painted with dark grey fluorocarbon paint, and the wall presents a subtle color change in the blue sky, such as the giant stone, such as the ink block, with a simple and profound texture. At the bottom of the body, the rounded corners are processed to show the sense of gravity in calligraphy.

The white volume selects prefabricated concrete hanging board, and the surface is treated with vertical chisel, such as rice-paper , which formed delightful contrast to the smooth and fine ink surface. The bottom of the body is overhanging to show a floating state, reflecting the spirit of detachment in calligraphy. The tranquil water in the entrance is set up to keep off the noise of the outside world, and the visitors are introduced into the gallery by a bridge on the surface of the water. The continuous transition of space makes the visitors compose the mind quickly before entering the exhibition hall.

The space relationship is controlled by the layout of "sparse enough to run horse, dense enough with no needle". It is close to keep a narrow lane of only 2 meters wide. Both sides are pure black and white volume, making people feel to walk among the books. The space will turn to open courtyard and create an open space effect.

There is a gray space in the way that the volume of the body is dug in introverted manner, and the outdoor space can be extended into the indoor rest area. The tourists can enjoy the interesting space experience during the visit.

All the exhibition halls are open without columns, which can be arranged freely according to the exhibition needs. Glass corridor connects the exhibition halls, in order to facilitate continuous exhibition. In the middle of the red bricked exhibition hall, there are light wells through three floors, which creates bright and transparent indoor space. The paved road and roofed courtyards are inspired by the abstract pattern of the ink spreading. Through the different grayscale changes of the granites in the paved fields, an ink painting is formed.

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