Tianjin Binhai Art Center

Designing an art center for a client in China required the architects in RTKL’s Dallas office to strike a balance between allowing in natural light while protecting the artwork on exhibit. Their solution calls for an exterior that combines stone and glass, one material representing strength and another which has a more delicate nature. The main programmatic elements for the 90,400-sf center include a flexible gallery space for displaying modern painting and calligraphy, private artist studios, an art auction room, and a café. The separation of public and private functions inside the building suggests a sequence of concealing and revealing experiences as one moves from inside to outside. Inside the main gallery, a series of partitions are designed to operate like large pivot doors that can be opened and closed to create a variety of spatial configurations. In addition, an exterior sculpture garden will connect the building to its outdoor landscape, with linear bars extending outward to stitch together the natural and built environments. The Tianjin Binhai urban area lies within a newly redeveloped coastal district in northeastern China near Beijing. Construction is expected to begin toward the end of this year.

Texas Architect
March/April 2012