Museum of Contemporary Art,Dali

Design:  2014-2015

Construction:  2016-

Location:  Dali, Yunnan, China


The inspiration for the project comes from both surrounding nature and adjacent temple. Being placed in Dali, a city dominated by nature, the architecture behaves modestly, integrating with existing topography.


To ensure that the museum doesn't affect the beautiful scenery composed of pagoda and surrounding nature, the majority of the building is located underground, generating stepped green roof connected to surrounding topography. This continuity of the landscape creates fluid circulation between temple and museum site.


Despite its location being close to the ancient city which is the most touristic site in Dali, the temple has been abandoned for long time. The goal of the project was to unify both temple and museum and reactivate them as a touristic attraction, taking advantage of beautiful view towards Erhai lake and the Chongsheng Temple's three-pagoda.


Learning from Chinese garden idea "一池三山/yi chi san shan", rock-like elements are naturally dispersed on stepped roof, breaking down the scale of the building.


In contrast to natural materials of the exterior, the interior is made of contemporary pure white spaces for the needs of art gallery space. These walls receive an abundance of natural light from a series of sky lights, changing the ambience of the space itself through visitor's spatial experience. 


Architect: Studio Zhu-Pei

Design Principal: Zhu Pei

Project Team: He Fan, Shuhei Nakamura, Han Mo, You Changchen,Yang Shengchen, Wang Di,Ke Jun, Ding Xinyue, Feng Chaoying, Wu Zhenhe, Zou Yujin, Wang Zheng, Wang Dan, Chen Yida, Chen Yuchuan, Du Yang, Lin Wendi, Tan Lirong, Wang Liyan

Client: Dali Development District Bureau