Tadao Ando’s Newest Art Museum Is One of His Most Stunning Yet

The design of the He Art Museum was influenced by Chinese cosmology and philosophy.

Nathan Bahadursingh Nathan Bahadursingh

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Designed by Pritzker Prize laureate Tadao Ando, the He Art Museum finally opened to the public on October 1 following delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. The museum is located in Shunde, a city within China’s Guangdong Province and takes the name of its founder, He Jianfeng. It will be home to the He family’s art collection, consisting of both Chinese and international contemporary art.

He Art Museum

The He Art Museum will be home to an art collection of more than 500 works in a variety of mediums, including painting, calligraphy, photography and sculpture. The museum was originally set to open to the public on March 21, 2020 but was delayed for more than 6 months as COVID–19-related restrictions impacted arts destinations across the globe. 

He Art Museum

The museum is approximately 52,493 square feet, with an exhibition area spanning about 26,246 square feet. Ando’s design presents his signature use of exposed concrete along with the integration of various natural elements, such as light, water and wind.

Using “harmony” as the theme, the museum’s design is heavily influenced by Lingnan (the greater geographic region) architectural culture. Specifically, Ando was influenced by ancient Chinese cosmology and philosophy, which believed the sky was round and divine, while the Earth was flat and square. A visual contrast between “round” and “square” forms and lines were therefore emphasized in the museum.

He Art Museum

The structure is broken down into a variety of circles and elliptical forms, with the building comprising four circular plans that increase in size as they ascend.

The He Art Museum’s interior is defined by a double-helix pair of staircases, which rise to the fourth floor and are met with natural light from a central skylight. This natural light reaches the exhibition areas, creating atmospheric spaces that are intimately connect to the outdoors. 

He Art Museum

He Art Museum

Surrounding the museum’s main building and leading to the main entrance is the Crescent Garden, named after its shape. It features a pond, which functions as a cooling device in the summer and reflects the museum’s architecture year-round. 

As part of its inauguration, the museum will present its launch exhibition, “From the Mundane World”, curated by independent art curator and critic Feng Boyi along with Hu Bin, Wang Xiaosong, Liu Gang and Shao Shu. 

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All images courtesy of HEM

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