The sprawling Hermitage in Moscow has long reigned as the world's largest museum — but China has plans to come close to it with a huge new building for the National Art Museum of China, the design plans for which were recently released by French architect Jean Nouvel.
The 130,000-square-metre building is destined for a site on the complex where Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics, according to The Art Newspaper, and will house thousands of years' worth of Chinese art. Nouvel has designed some of the most interesting cultural buildings and museums on the planet — see his fantastically beautiful Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris — and it looks as though he's gearing up to do the same for China's national collection. The renderings show a delicate, lace-like lattice drawn from classical Chinese patterns, formed to a rough cube that encases the warren of interior spaces.
There's an interior hanging garden, a gold-painted ceiling, an open-air terrace on the roof, galleries, an education centre, and of course, art – 100,000 pieces ranging from Chinese folk art to modern work. As Hyperallergic points out, the press release (PDF) contains some interesting descriptions of the museum's ambitions:
At the beginning of the 21st century museums are still too often considered as places for conservation, consultation and education.
Yeah! Screw education!
The NAMOC represents an incredible opportunity for the most ambitious materialisation of a place for expression, of communication and attraction, a place that witnesses the vitality of a civilisation, the civilisation of the greatest people on earth.
So if not education or conservation, then what?
Our goal is to protect the miracles created with ink throughout the centuries, to reveal the force of a living art… to welcome the artist of tomorrow.
So... conservation and education?