Culture and Art Center . Qingdao City

OMA . + architects journal

The port city of Qingdao, half way to Beijing and Shanghai and famous for its Tsingtao beer and hosting water sports during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has one of the fastest growing economies in China. Meanwhile the city's cultural development lags behind.
The recent announcement that China's largest movie studio will be built in Qingdao represents that city's first deliberate insertion of culture into the urban fabric. The development of the Cultural and Arts Centre of Qingdao City (CACQ) will further accelerate the growth of the cultural sector.

Located between the city's CBD and its park, OMA's proposed design for the CACQ is comprised of the Art Base at the basement level, five distinctive art institutions, and a hotel on top. The Art Base is an "exhibition tube" that spans the site, providing a shared exhibition space where various institutions display their collection and cultural thinking. The exhibition tube allows a crossover between different art forms while liberating part of the overall program for additional commercial and art facilities: space for small design businesses, a "book city," food market, visiting artists' studios, and a digital fabrication lab can be accommodated. The additional programs enrich CACQ and at the same time provide further revenue making possibilities, aiming towards a self-sustaining development model for CACQ.
On top of the common Art Base, each of the five institutions - the Art Exchange Centre, Modern Art Centre, Art Gallery, Performing and Visual Arts Centre, and Public Arts Centre - has an individual volume and maintains its own identity. The Public Arts Centre takes a circular lantern shape and is characterized by a media façade; the Performing and Visual Arts Centre is a large "bar" hosting the Grand Theatre and the cinemas. Two large windows at both ends of the bar establish a strong visual connection between the park and the cityscape. The Modern Art Centre and the Art Gallery, dedicated both to the production and display of art, is one unit comprised of two bar-shaped buildings connected by a courtyard. The Art Exchange Centre, with its trading hall, has a façade that at the same time functions as an electronic billboard for the project. Within the complex, there is also a hotel in close proximity to the MRT station.
The landscape on top of the Art Base is designed as a pattern of paths connecting the different art institutions. The paths are also extensions of the routes of the neighbouring park.
The Art Base and the five art Institutions together create a cultural ensemble which encompasses the individuality and values of each institution. As a centre for production, consumption, and display of cultural expressions, CACQ creates a new platform for both historical and contemporary culture, for local presence and international outreach. The project generates a new dimension and a new scale for Qingdao's cultural landscape.

Partner in charge: David Gianotten
Project Architect: Katja Lam, Jedidiah Lau, Slobodan Radoman
Competition Team: Chee Yuen Choy, Reo Suzuki, Tian Xue Zhu; with Mafalda Brandao, Thomas Brown, Thorben Bazlen, Kevin Chan, Jocelyn Chiu, Ravi Kamisetti, Vincent Kersten, Heejung Kil, Federico Letizia, Vincent McIlduff, Shu Yang
Local Design Institute: TYDI, Tengyuan Design Institute
Structure, Services, Fire, Project Management, Building Physics, Landscape: TYDI, Tengyuan Design Institute
Model: RJ Models
Animation: Silkroad (Qingdao)

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