A striking pale-brick volume forms the facade of ‘Changjiang Art Museum’, a new cultural and community space designed by Beijing firm Vector Architects. The museum houses a large collection of contemporary art and is located in Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi province in northern China.
The museum is an architectural experience in and of itself: concrete staircases at the southwestern corner of the stately building lead to a raised, open terrace, which is positioned around a tree-filled courtyard. Inside, galleries are centered around a circular lightwell measuring 16 meters high, “which serves as the organizing anchor for the spaces,” explains the firm. Besides the skylights and a long, narrow window in the southeast corner, the lightwell and courtyard are the main providers of natural light for the interior. Brick and concrete walls are painted in white to offer a bright, airy backdrop for the artworks, while floors and balustrades are finished in wood, their warm tones balancing out the ash-colored concrete waffle-beam ceiling. “‘Changjiang Art Museum’ is like a solid block of brick, occupying a specific space-time coordinate,” continues the firm, “bearing witness silently and attentively to the clamorous and ever-changing city around it.”