neri&hu presents qinhuangdao's aranya art center in a new video

neri&hu presents qinhuangdao's aranya art center in a new video

situated within the coastal city of qinhuangdao in northern china, neri&hu has completed the design of the ‘aranya art center’ for a seaside resort community. as the project seeks to create a place not only for artwork, but also for the whole community, the shanghai-based practice first questioned the idea of ‘space for art versus communal space’. with consideration being paid to the spiritual nature of residents, the resulting scheme has been formed around a large internal courtyard, providing an area for people to gather and forming a direct connection to the natural environment above.

all images and video © pedro pegenaute



the heavy massing of the building is punctured by a large circular internal courtyard. inspired by the coastal waters nearby, neri&hu has imagined this part of the design to embody the notion of water, by having a void at the core of the entire volume. with its stepped amphitheater, the central space provides a variety of functions, such as a performance space or gathering place. this element of the design also embraces the concept of creating a place for the community, as well as displaying art.



when viewed from outside, the architecture is articulated as a thick mass of concrete. with the varied textures utilized on the surface, the façade of the building expresses a heaviness, like a solid rock sitting firmly in the changing environment that surrounds it. the different surface treatments work to break up the volume, while also drawing attention to the openings that punctuate the elevations. when the day gives way to night, small parts of the façade emit a soft and subtle light from behind the modular concrete units, creating an element of intrigue as to what lies inside.



upon entering into the interior, the art center is made up of a series of interlocking spaces, inviting visitors to freely explore as they ascend. the gallery spaces focus on the art itself and providing the optimum background for the enjoyment of art. a spiralling path leads through all the spaces and subtly directing visitors. starting at the bottom with the café, multi-purpose gallery, and an outdoor amphitheater, the path guides visitors through five distinct galleries, culminating at the rooftop where you get 360-degree viewing of the activities below.



‘it was exciting for us to work with aranya on this project where we were able to explore a hybrid typology which combined design, art, and performance,’ says lyndon neri and rossana hu. ‘the project pushes the boundaries of how architectural space deals with sensorial experiences in unexpected ways.’ at the top of this page, a new video — directed by pedro pegenaute — documents the scheme in more detail.



project info:


name: aranya art center
site address: block 4, south zone, aranya golden coast community, beidaihe new district, qinhuangdao, hebei, china
project type: architecture and interior design
design period: september 2016 – may 2019
gross area: 1,500 sqm / 16,146 sqf
program: gallery / exhibition, multi-purpose space, café


architect and interior designer: neri&hu design and research office
design team: lyndon neri & rossana hu (founding partners, principal in charge), nellie yang (associate director, architecture), ellen chen (associate & project manager), jerry guo (associate), utsav jain, josh murphy, gianpaolo taglietti, zoe gao, susana sanglas, brian lo (associate director, product design), lili cheng
photography: pedro pegenaute

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