Tian Ye Art Center

Location: Yinchuan, Ningxian, Republic of China

Year: 2011

Status: Concept design

Size: 40,000m² (total), incl. 10,000m² art museum, 10,000m² art center, 20,000m² office space

Program: Multifunctional (retail, office and cultural)

Project team: Alver Architects (Andres Alver, Tarmo Laht, Sven Koppel, Ulla Saar, Indrek Rünkla)


An area that currently accommodates a rural settlement is planned to be converted into a new urban district. The program will include a 10,000 m² museum, a 10,000 m² art center, and a 20,000 m² office building.

We distribute the three major programs separately on the plot. We would like to see a connecting structure between the three units, so we draw a line. This line will simultaneously connect the three programs, and divide the plot into parkside and roadside. The parkside will be pedestrian and bicycle oriented, and will connect to the park.The roadside will provide parking for buses and cars, and be partly covered by greenery. We extrude the line we drew earlier into a vertical volume, which will become the spine of the complex. However, to allow for movement, we penetrate the spine in a number of locations: what used to be a solid border, becomes a permeable filter. The programs, arranged into distinct blocks get “pluged into” the spine, which runs in the back, before spiraling up the office tower at the north end of the block. The units plugging into the spine will be slabs: vertical slabs for the office building, and horizontal – for the museum and the art center. The space between the slabs will become public space, visually and logistically connected to the park. This public space will include a square, that will provide entrances into the museum and the office building, while also establishing a major connection between the park and the roadside parking area.

The complex will then be formed of a vertical office block and a horizontal spatial structure comprised of a back wall and protruding volumes attached to it, with foyers of various programs in between. The protruding volumes will cantilever over the public spaces adjacent to the park, creating covered outdoor spaces.