The Gallery Extension at Nanjing Art University, completed in 2019 by Atelier Diameter, aims to enhance the campus’s vibrant artistic atmosphere and encourage students to gather spontaneously by highlighting the unique qualities of the space.
Nanjing Art University’s Gallery Extension Technical Information
- Architects1-7: Atelier Diameter
- Design Institute: ZhongSen Architectural & Engineering Designing Consultants LTD.
- Location: Nanjing, China
- Client: Nanjing University of the Arts
- Topics: Art Galleries, Concrete in Architecture
- Area: 565 m2
- Project Year: 2016 – 2019
- Photographs: © Aurelien Chen
The school functions as a small community. When designing a building for an art school, the primary objective was to preserve and enhance the strong sense of community in the lively dormitory area.– Atelier Diameter Architects
Nanjing Art University’s Gallery Extension Photographs
Text by the Architects
1. Double-Theme: Exhibition Hall
A company endowed the gallery. Nanjing University of the Arts found an open space among the crowded dormitory buildings, preparing to use the public housing space on the ground floor of the original 46th dormitory to renovate and expand a two-story art exhibition hall. The lower level is the ‘Ancient Tile Research Exhibition Hall,’ and the upper level is ‘Ancient Oil Painting Restoration Exhibition Hall.’ The theme of the two exhibition halls is Chinese and Western. So, separate management is required, and the exhibition halls need to be unconnected. Considering the plain co-ventilation of art and tradition, we designed a small house of fair-faced concrete called ‘The Concrete Exhibition Hall.’ We used the reverse arc of the inner arch to pull up the upper and lower floors to provide the two themes with the opportunity for dialogue.
2. Community Creation
The complex of the new dormitory buildings is a living area called the ‘Creative Street District.’ The ‘Concrete Exhibition Hall’ is in front of the 46th high-rise dormitory, faces a small square between the buildings, and the outside of the hollowed-out wall on the east side is the city road – Hu Ju North Road. On the west side is a stone-paved pedestrian street of the university, which is lower from north to south, filled with cafes, book bars, and various creative shops. It is pretty popular.
The school is a small society. When constructing a building in an art school and building it in a lively dormitory area, maintaining and strengthening a good sense of community became the original design intent. Each floor of the building is connected to the street and the original bridge, which is better accessible. We went one step further by squeezing out an outdoor space from a limited building area and creating a penetrating vaulted veranda on the second floor, attracting people from several directions to move towards the cohesive square.
3. Modification and Extension
Nanjing University of the Arts is a model for transforming and upgrading the old campus in Jiangsu Province. It has been adhering to the original site for more than 60 years. Although the campus area is narrow, the new and old buildings are interspersed with hillside plants. The spatial levels are vivid and rich, deeply loved by teachers and students. The addition of this ‘Concrete Exhibition Hall’ is still a continuation of the original method of the school’s construction. The interior decoration is the primary modification method, and the expansion part is tiny. And reinforcing the original joint with embedded steel bars was used at the junction of the two to meet the new technical specifications.
Here, the key point of the renovation and extension is not technical breakthroughs and the increase in the number of areas but the continuation of the campus’s rich artistic life atmosphere and attracting students’ spontaneous gatherings and activities through the characteristics of the place.
4. Space and Appearance
The double arches inside and outside give this sculptural little house a touch of the color of the western art space, but one of the inspirations of the space prototype is the Wuliang Hall of Linggu Temple in Nanjing. The unique texture of the outer arched fair-faced concrete is a metaphor for the brushstrokes of oil paintings and the fragments of ancient ceramics, but more of it brings a gentle sense of security to the person in the room. The warm light will further enhance this feeling at night.
To give space to the incense in the yard, the corner of the building along the street made a setback, providing a geometrical modeling opportunity for the descending stairs. Behind this arcing wall, the light spreads over the stairs, making the solemn arcade space add a lively atmosphere.
Nanjing Art University’s Gallery Extension Plans
Nanjing Art University’s Gallery Extension Image Gallery
About Atelier Diameter
Atelier Diameter was founded in Shanghai as a part of Zhongsen Architectural & Engineering Designing Consultants Ltd (ZSA). The studio specializes in cultural projects of various scales and programs.
- Lead architect: Zhang Nan
- Team Members: Zhang Nan, Zhang Xiaoyuan, Sun Xiao, Ou Renwei
- Structure Design: Jian Jin, Yulong Qiu, Yong Liu, Feng Wang
- Water and Drainage Supply Design: Yujin Huang
- Heating and Ventilation Design: Lingye Song
- Electrical Design: Kelan Cao
- Lighting Consultant: Ning Field Lighting Design Corp., LTD.