BEIJING – Since 2002, a Bauhaus-style industrial complex in Beijing designed as part of the ‘Socialist Unification Plan’ between the USSR and China has been transformed into the city’s most vibrant artistic community. Now known as the 798 Art District after one of its most imposing structures, just six months ago it notably hosted Ai Weiwei’s first solo exhibitions in his home country.
M WOODS, a private, not-for-profit art museum, has occupied a former munitions factory in the 798 since 2014 and recently commissioned local firm Vector Architects to revitalise the space in time for its Spring 2016 exhibition, All Means Are Sacred. The intervention completely preserves the exterior of the existing structure, gently draping a curtain of metal mesh in tiers over the façade. The undulating enclosure leads down from the roof to shade a new extension of the entrance, black-paneled with contrasting timber seating and doorways. This additional minimalist volume reflects an intention to create a more spacious and leisurely experience for visitors, allowing them an intermediate zone between the street and the gallery to reflect on the exhibitions. The Vector team has also installed a public seating area across from the museum entrance, shaded with the same metallic gossamer as the façade.