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UCCA Dune Art Museum

Located on a quiet beach along the coast of Bohai Bay in northern China, the UCCA Dune Art Museum is carved into the sand, where it gently disappears.

Countless years of wind have pushed the beach’s sand into a dune along the shore several meters high, stabilized by low-rising shrubs and other ground cover. Inspired by children’s tireless digging in the sand, the museum lies beneath this mass of sand. “Digging” creates a series of connected soft spaces resembling caves, the primal form of human inhabitance and the earliest site of man’s artistic creation. Between the sea and the sand, a hidden place emerges, intimate to the body and soul.

A series of cell-like connected spaces accommodate the UCCA Dune Art Museum’s rich and varied programs, including differently-sized galleries, studios, and a café. After passing through a long, dark tunnel and a small reception area, the space suddenly opens up as visitors enter the largest multifunctional gallery, where a beam of daylight from the skylight above silently yet powerfully fills the space. A spiral staircase leads to a lookout on the sand dune, guiding curious audiences from the dark recesses of the museum’s cave-like galleries to the vast openness of sky and sea above.

Looking through different openings framed by the building, museum-goers can observe the ever-changing expressions of the sky and sea throughout the day. In the near future, a long walkway will be built opposite the UCCA Dune Art Museum, extending into the ocean. When the tide is low and the walkway rises above the water, people will be able to walk to the Sea Art Museum, which will rise out of the sea like a solitary rock. Together, these two museums will form a “Dialogue by the Sea.”

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