In 2010, Kokkugia collaborated with Studio Pei Zhu on the competition for the National Art Museum of China, which will open 2015 in the centre of the Olympic village of Beijing, a site already dotted with iconic buildings. Instead of confronting them, Kokkugia decided to develop an aformal proposal, irreducible to its simple outlines, and for this purpose to concentrate on the processes involved in cloud formation. The architects freed themselves from the hypothesis of the initial establishment of a building set on a base, buried part of the programme and imagine this translucent emergence, which sunlight fills to illuminate the subjacent piazza. The systems of agents used here simulate laminar or turbulent fluxes, which organise the matter locally to bring out the lines of the landscape as well as those of the museum. The result is a network of structural ribs around which a discreet skin wraps itself, composed of similar glass panes that are covered to various degrees to generate effects of opacity and thickness. The architects combined these self-organisation processes, at the local scale, with the modelling of complex geometries emerging globally, and proceed back and forth between the formal result obtained and the constantly refined procedures.

Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou

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