national art museum of china  |  Beijing 

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robert stuart-smith, roland snooks (kokkugia ltd) + studio zhu pei, china   

Robert stuart-smith and Roland Snooks (kokkugia) were invited to collaborate with Studio Pei Zhu on the competition for the National Art Museum of China. Working within an already established metaphor of the cloud and a typology of podium and object, the project proposed a diffuse or formless form in opposition to the monumental nature of the surrounding Beijing Olympic site. This form was generated through a swarm-based algorithm - developed from the turbulent and chaotic systems underlying cloud formation. This non-linear algorithmic methodology structured a relationship between the interior gallery programs, exterior form and facade articulation that would allow for very different readings of the project. These perceptual differences are created by the chaotic and turbulent nature of the swarm organisation, producing fractal affects of flow. The cloud swarm formation wraps the gallery spaces while providing light to the podium level exterior spaces through topological manifolds. This same organisation generated the glazing structure and glass facade panelisation. This behavioural system generates form, pattern and affect that ties the podium and cloud together within a single process - intrinsically relating object and field.

project directors: Robert Stuart-Smith, Roland Snooks (kokkugia)
project team: Nicholette Chan, J Fleet Hower, Xiaotian Huang, Leonid Krykhtin, Edwin Liu, Josef Musil, Ekaterina Obedkova, Casey Rehm, Gilles Retsin, Sophia Tang

Studio Pei-Zhu Partner: Pei Zhu

model photographs by dimitrije miletic