MoAE Huamao Museum of Art Education, Ningbo
Opened on 21 November 2020, the MoAE – Huamao Museum of Art Education is an art museum in Ningbo, China, whose iconic building was designed by Portuguese architects Alvaro Siza Vieira and Carlos Castanheira.
Part of a larger development project, called Ningbo Dongqian Lake Education Forum, the museum is located on a small peninsula on the north shore of Lake Dongqian on the outskirts of Ningbo, a port city of 8 million inhabitants in the Zhejiang province, about 200 kilometers south of Shangai.
The museum is owned by Huamao Group Co Ltd, a Ningo-based company that produces teaching and laboratory equipment, and is also involved in real estate and financial services.
Above, exterior view of the Huamao Museum of Art Education from the south-east. Photo © Bowen Hou.
The MoAE – Huamao Museum of Art Education in Ningbo with Lake Dongqian in the background. Photo © Bowen Hou.
From the outside, the building of the museum designed by Siza Vieira and Castanheira appears as a huge volume “floating” over a thin transparent layer; the upper volume, opaque and windowless, is entirely clad with corrugated aluminum panels painted in dark gray.
View from the east. Photo © Bowen Hou.
The public enters the museum through a narrow ramped corridor to “emerge” into an imposing 22-meter/72-foot height foyer.
A spiraling ramp encircles the foyer and gives access to the museum’s galleries, distributed on the upper four floors, while the ground floor contains various visitor facilities, and the basement level houses technical areas, an archive, and four temporary exhibition rooms. On its upper floor, the building also accommodates administration offices, a VIP lounge, a library, and a rooftop cafe.
The architects’ aim was to create a dynamic building both outside and inside. Externally, they got it by covering the museum with a skin whose aspect constantly changes depending on weather conditions, time of day, and season.
“From the exterior, it is suspended above the ground as it undulates in its metal cladding. It reflects the ever-changing daylight that makes the form move and transform. Incessantly.” Carlos Castaneda says.
Internally, they designed a building in which narrow and expansive spaces alternate ceaselessly.
“The public entrance is reached after passing around the form of the building and experiencing an imposed, absorbing compression, to then be released into a vast space, the full height of the building, where a snaking ramp links all the floor levels. This exercise of compression and release is constant during the visit.”.
Views of the entrance corridor and foyer. Photos © Bowen Hou.
Ground floor plan and transverse section. Images courtesy of Carlos Castanheira Architects.
Close-up views of the exterior of the building with the corrugated aluminum cladding.
Art collection and permanent exhibition
The collection of the MoAE is focused mainly on modern and contemporary Chinese arts. Paying special attention to sculptor Liu Kaiqu (1904–1993), composer He Luting (1903-1999), and painter Luo Zhongli (b 1965), the permanent exhibition of the museum features a quite diverse set of artifacts related to various forms of art, including painting, drawing, sculpture, calligraphy, music, architecture, and design.
Along with works by Chinese artists –Wang Shimin, Huang Binhong, Xu Beihong, Liu Haisu, Pan Tianshou, Lin Fengmian, Luo Gongliu, and Liu Kaiqu, among others – the over 200 works on view also includes pieces by French and Italian masters such as Tiziano Vecellio and Filippino Lippi.
Spanning four floors, the exhibition also features various up-to-date art education tools, including hands-on exhibits, multimedia installations, immersive digital experiences, and 3D-printers.
The program of the museum also includes special exhibitions, conferences, educational activities, art workshops, masterclasses, talks, concerts, and special events.
The calligraphy art gallery.
A gallery dedicated to the relationship between art and science.
The gallery on Chinese sculptor Liu Kaiqu.
The French painters’ gallery.
The rooftop cafe. Photo © Bowen Hou.
View from the south. Photo © Bowen Hou.
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