A new art mecca in the league of Benesse and MONA has opened in Qinhuangdao, China. Like their peer art islands, the UCCA Dune museum has complemented and enhanced the environment it inhabits, but more than that, it’s allowed the earth to dictate its form and function. Designed by Beijing-based OPEN Architecture, the museum was built beneath the dunes in an effort to save the natural ecology that otherwise would have been destroyed. OPEN persuaded the client to embrace the dune rather than remove it for the museum’s construction, and because they did, the world is watching.
Using the dune not only conserves the environment, but it also pays tribute to the very first place art was exhibited – on cave walls the world over. The weight and shape of the sand insulate the ten galleries and cafe that exist within the building and keep it cool in summer, utilising a low-energy, zero-emissions heat pump system instead of air conditioning. The organic curves and bends of the building create unique views and openings throughout the entire structure, making the museum itself a unique work of art. For those that thought eco-construction was just for EarthShips and underground fridges, this museum really opens up the possibilities.