Artificial Island Museum with Cave-like Exhibition Space



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Today’s art museums are as evocative as the creations they house. We’re not saying the Louvre or Guggenheim aren’t stunning architectural feats, but it seems some museum designs are getting headier. Currently under construction in Pingtan, China, is Asia’s largest private museum. It will be an artificial island off a real island, with exhibition spaces that look like ancient caves.

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The museum’s looks are open to interpretation. We see sand dunes, a spaceship, a computer mouse, snow hills… But the idea behind Pingtan Art Museum by Beijing firm MAD Architects is an “earthscape in water,” a “symbol of the island in ancient times, with each island containing a mountain beneath it.” Basically the museum is a small, man-made small island off the larger Pingtan Island in Fujian province, connected by an undulating pier that “bridges artificial and natural, city and culture, as well as history and future,” according to the architects’ website.

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Inside, art lovers will find more than a thousand pieces of Chinese treasures in a cavernous space that looks like ancient caves. The structure is made of concrete mixed with seashells. Its looks are both organic and somewhat “alien.” The organic shape, of course, is super intentional, designed to harmoniously blur the lines of the museum building with its sea, beach and distant mountain environment into a peaceful capacious space. We love it when ultramodern architecture has its roots in its surrounding landscape. Construction is set to finish in 2016.

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