A walkable sculpture now marks the eastern entrance of Xi’an’s Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts, providing a hidden space with natural light and open air in the midst of the bustling Chinese city. The project of Shanghai-based architecture firm Neri&Hu, “The Urban Monument” is built with terracotta-colored travertine and comprised of four sections that allow visitors to seamlessly pass from street to interior to outdoor gathering space. Located south of the towering Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the immense project similarly references local ancient culture and is designed to mimic an illuminated clay lantern.
Neri&Hu maintained the underground museum’s original stairs to draw in pedestrians and lead them to a sunken piazza, and a latticed facade allows sunlight to brighten the inner walkways. In addition to the galleries, a massive amphitheater with concentric benches for seating sits at the top of the structure, which also holds public restrooms, a restaurant, a lounge, and retail space.
Completed in December 2021, “The Urban Monument” is one of many of Neri&Hu’s architectural projects that play with geometries and light, which you can explore on its site.
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