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Alvaro Siza + Carlos Castanheira Designs Immense Interior Of MoAE


Small on the outside and immense inside. A Museum must be big. Inside. A Museum must be bright. Inside.

The Art Education Museum is a small Museum that is immense inside. Leaning against on the hillside, its undulating form hovers above the ground. It is intriguing in its elegance and in its mystery. Nothing is obvious in this little building. The public entrance is reached after passing around the form of the building and experiencing an imposed, absorbing compression, to then be released into a vast space, the full height of the building, where a snaking ramp links all the floor levels.


This exercise of compression and release is constant during the visit. This diversity in routes and the interconnection of spaces makes this small building vast inside. Its volume is equally challenging. From the exterior, it is suspended above the ground as it undulates in its metal cladding. It reflects the ever-changing daylight that makes the form move and transform. Incessantly. Inside, the introspective calm of the exhibition spaces contrasts with the movement of the visitors circulating in the enormous void. Dynamism is taught through Art. Size doesn’t matter, but a Museum must have a Big Soul.







CREDITS MoAE – Huamao Museum of Art Education – Ningbo

Client: Ningbo Huamao Education Culture Investment Ltd.

Location: Dongqian Lake, Ningbo, China

Project: May 2014 – February 2016

Construction: October 2017 – (…)

Total Building Area 5.300 m2

Architects: Álvaro Siza with Carlos Castanheira

Images with courtesy of Carlos Castanheira


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