A garden gallery of playful spectatorship in Beijing

Located by the fifth ring of Beijing, TEMP's latest project is an art center that will host exhibitions, meetings, and events. The area has transformed itself from a rural setting few years ago into a new arts and finance district. A few artists and museums have moved in, as does the local developer, who has occupied the site starting the business within a preliminary structure. As the development gained more propulsion, new programs needed to be fulfilled.

A gallery surrounded by gardens

TEMP takes advantage of its underused areas and elevates the compound into an oasis that draws the mind to contemplation and mystery. The new Center has only one floor, consisting of outdoor courtyards, a gallery hall, and offices. Interlocking yards now wrap around a revamped gallery, which is accessible from all gardens.

As the allure of the different artworks in the gallery, the pluralism of aesthetic ideals is reflected in various stylized courtyards, framing the interior and the outer world. Each of them embodies a slightly varying philosophy, from brightness to lushness, austerity to wildness. 

The pluralistic landscape

A volumetric tension establishes a focal point at the street entrance, with its large almond-shaped rock stands upright, touching the roof. Behind it, raised wooden corridor lays out an inviting and ritualistic walkway. A few small maples and limestone sit quietly on the pebbles and stepping stones; the latter aligns with a serpent-like wall that slithers around the courtyard, creating multiple layers of space.

Another maple tree and a stone are fixed in a reflecting pool on the other side of the compound. Warm lights, water reflections, and openings at the foot and eye levels strike a chord of harmony on this quiet corner.

While the minimalism of trees and stones mark the restrained and uncluttered courtyards, abundance mark the lush and mysterious ones. An open field of foxtail wavers wildly with the wind, while another of bamboo and mirrors reflecting auditory and visual notes as one passes through.

Frames outside artworks

As Chinese gardens heavily play on intentional framing throughout the sequential experience of space, the Center also cut through different partitions mischievously and generously. It leaves room for mystery, artfully hidden as much as what is on display.

In the main gallery hall, privacy is ensured by ordered lines of white walls. Each area comes with artworks that soothe, inspire and provoke. They and the people in the room reveal bits of themselves through the cutouts of different heights and sizes.

Ample lights are filtered in and out through large windows. From the gallery, it offers an escape to the picturesque natural world. Whereas from the garden, the dynamics of people, and the warmth of artificial lights at dawn gives away an inviting worldlines.

A person sitting at a meeting room exchanging looks with another sitting on the elevated courtyard, either be the spectator or the actor. This play of spectatorship adds layers to the spatial dynamics, extending art to reality and intensifying their overlaps of enigma and solace.