Dune Museum is Subterranean Gallery

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March 1, 2020

The UCCA Dune Art Museum is carved into sand dunes along the northeast coast in Qinhuangdao, China. Designed by Beijing-based OPEN Architecture, the 10,000 ft.2 museum is almost buried in the sand. Three terraces open to expansive sea views.

Originally envisioned as a space for art and dining adjacent to luxury homes and shops, the concept morphed midway into an art museum.

The existing dune was excavated and the structure was erected with steel columns encased in concrete, with steel micro-piles transferring the vertical load to bedrock beneath the brick walls. The atrium walls are 18 in. thick. To prevent condensation, engineers devised thermally broken connections between the new steel elements and the existing masonry walls. The sand-covered roof helps to keep the interior cool in the summer.

Photos by Wu Qingshan.

The museum also tracks the sky: two of its skylights orient to the sun at the summer and winter solstices, while others are designed to capture daylight or cast it on the walls.

— Architectural Record and Designboom