The town of Ala’er is situated in the province of Xinjiang, in north-western China. The new museum sits on the central square of the town, and contains the historic collections from the region. The building was conceived as a landscape. The pyramidal forms are an abstract interpretation of the nearby Tianshan mountains, rising to 7,500m above sea level, whose glaciers supply vital water to the region. Its sculptural form has become a symbol for the town. Its differing slopes give the impression that it is opening towards the sky, whilst the star-shaped plan evokes the theme of orientation linked to the desert. It suggests the crossing of paths, like an oasis.
The museum is built into the ground as a response to climatic conditions, and its roof terrace serves as an esplanade which has become a space for public events.
To enter the museum, visitors take a north-south oriented ramp which descends below the water pool and leads to the entrance. Here, they come to the museum exhibition areas, punctuated by light tunnels. A 400-seat conference hall is placed next to the large triangle with its mezzanine cafeteria offering views over the park.
The museum contains both permanent and temporary exhibition space.
– Ala’Er municipal authorities
– Architect representative: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Partner architect: Luis Sanchez Renero
-Xinjiang Research Institute of Built Sciences
– City: Xingjiang
– Country: China
– Competition winner: 2003
– Completion: 2009
– Surface area: 10000m²