Monologue Art Museum by Wutopia Lab
Architectural office from Shanghai Wutopia Laboratory has the “Monologue Art museum‘ in China, dedicated to those who wish to escape from worldly distractions. Located in the SEATOPIA Park in Beidaihe, Qinhuangdao, the project emerges as an ensemble of three geometric masses floating on a pool, all surrounded by a white ring. The design team sought to create an intimate and silent space where visitors could contemplate or hide their thoughts.
“In an open green space at the intersection of three residential clusters on the Weilan Coast campus, I divided the 1,300-square-foot building into distinct monoliths, which were combined with walls, corridors, and ambiguous spaces to form a triangular 3,600-square-foot art museum of the monologue .’
all images CreatAR Images, Seven W
the rectangular dance studio, the circular yoga studio and the oval theater
a place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city
Commissioned by Sino-Ocean Group, Wutopia Lab (see more here) has created an island in the middle of the busy city where people can switch off and be alone. The interior slowly unfolds through a sensory journey. To start this journey, visitors cross the small entrance theater where the light breaks through the corners. The project is defined by the play of light and spatial twists. Following this, guests will encounter the art gallery, tranquil water courtyard, colorful yoga room, tea room and dance studio.
As you wander around, the light dims, the paths narrow, and the pram almost misses the path. Exiting the building, a wall of flowers guides the way, crossing the water in dappled shade. As the architects mention, ‘the water flows through the middle, seemingly dipping the building towards the sea.’
geometric masses floating on the pool
The project is mainly characterized by three geometric volumes: the rectangular dance studio, the circular yoga studio and the oval theater, all symmetrical and regular with excellent seismic performance. The design team established three seismic joints to divide them into four independent structural units. The expansion and deformation of the over-long structure has been eliminated, reducing heat stress and preventing structural cracking caused by temperature changes.
For the theater, Wutopia Lab chose a flexible but shielded space to draw the audience’s attention to the performance. Daylight or moonlight pours in like a waterfall thanks to a curved skylight above the back of the stage. “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light comes in.”
The dance studio turns out to be a translucent glass box ‘With enough light but filtering the landscape outdoors as a background. Behind the mirrored wall of the classroom is the entrance foyer and mezzanine cloakroom. The dancers can then dance as above and below.’
structure and details
The interior and exterior walls of the monologue are made of glass, solid walls and floral brick walls. The three are continuous like alternating ink brush strokes that create the different boundary conditions of the museum. The architect states: “I see the boundary of the monologue as a shifting line of ink. In architecture I use white instead of black. The starting signal is the small oval theater. The point is the yoga room, the dried brush is the flower wall, the art gallery is the line that connects these, the thin and a little fast is the corridor with a peak, then it slopes to a side peak forming a slow thick line ‘, the enlarged art museum, then the dance studio is a hit slowly back on top.’
The farm was originally supposed to have a white dry clay floor. During the construction phase, the architects decided to change the white to black, transforming the walkable white square into a visible black pool. With this gesture a new depth was created in the visual aspect.“The white building is surrounded by a deep pool of stillness, you stare at it as it stares at you. The surroundings suddenly become quiet.’
“I wanted the glass surface to have a continuous view of the inner courtyard and the museum without any structural elements. In order to reduce the structure’s dead weight and the size of the structural elements, the roof consists of a full poured layer of 40mm fine-grain concrete with ribbed patterned steel panels on top to ensure thermal insulation and waterproofing performance. An independent column surmounted steel beam units in the narrow corridor and hid them in the walls. And the steel structure unit with a single-span frame and overhanging girders was used in the enlarged art museum space. The maximum overhang is 4.6 meters. It provides a fully permeable effect with no vertical elements blocking the water court façade.’
The brick wall either doubles to frame an inner courtyard, or combines with glass or solid walls to form a continuous 150-meter corridor that encircles the museum
“The Wasserhof has calmed down. As I rendered the white glass-fronted building at the edge of the black pool, there was a new familiarity and the vibe of the place was too cliche. So I decided to light it up by turning the highest circular facade of the yoga room into a gradient stained glass. With a hint of color in the bold ink, the result is a glittering glass fortress.’
“The Glass Fortress originally only had one floor, but the client insisted on a changing area and I was only able to add a second floor to maintain the visual openness of the first floor. I also wanted the facade glass to maintain vertical continuity. I asked Lao Hu to hang the floor to separate the floor and the glass facade. Lao Hu arranged the frame in a cruciform shape to provide horizontal lateral rigidity on the roof, combined with the wraparound ring beam to form a frame that provides torsional rigidity, creating a clean and efficient power system. He used four hanging columns suspended from the main frame girder and hidden in the cabinet to raise the second story slab. Finally, the stairs were also slightly suspended from the floor slab. The first floor was then opened up to the glorious light.’
open corridor with alternating light