Museum of interconnected pyramids creates huge column-free space for large-scale art works 

Foster & Partners has completed the Datong Art Museum, designed to be an important cultural destination for China.

The museum, which has just opened to the public, is formed of a series of interconnected pyramids that appear to emerge from the earth below and has a vast, column-free space that can accommodate large-scale art works.

Luke Fox, head of studio at Foster & Partners, said: “The museum is conceived as a social hub for people – an ‘urban living room’ for Datong – that brings people, art and artists together in a space where they can interact.

Inside Datong Museum

”At the heart of the museum, the Grand Gallery exemplifies this spirit with a generously scaled, flexible exhibition space designed to accommodate specially commissioned large-scale artworks as well as performance art and other events.”

The structure is built with an efficient passive design and is one of four major buildings within Datong New City’s cultural plaza. It is aimed at being a hub for creative industries in the area.

Plan of Datong Art Museum

The pyramids increase in height and fan outwards towards the four corners of the cultural plaza. The gallery spaces are sunken below the ground, and the roof is clad in naturally oxidised curved steel plates that help drain water. Panels are proportioned to suit the large scale of the museum.

A series of spaces are dedicated to education and learning, including a children’s gallery, media library, archive and art storage facilities.

Fox added: “We hope the museum will become the centre of the city’s cultural life – a dynamic public destination.”