Gehry Partners recently unveiled its shortlisted proposal for the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing. The competition for this highly-vaunted project started in December 2010, and involves three rounds. Among the 150 architecture firms vying for the job, Frank Gehry was one of several stand outs, alongside fellow Pritzker Prize winners Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid (both of whom were also shortlisted), and top local firms MAD Architects and Studio Zhu Pei.
Although last year rumors surfaced that Jean Nouvel had taken the lead in the competition, the government is yet to make an official announcement.
Gehry’s design features a “translucent stone” façade, which is made of a new type of glass material developed by Gehry Partners that is said to have the quality of jade. The interior comprises of lofty, geometric courtyards reminiscent of temples and pagodas. The museum’s entries and interiors have been designed to accommodate 38,400 visitors per day and nearly 12 million visitors per year, making it potentially the world’s busiest art museum.
The successful design will sit next to the Olympic “Birds Nest” stadium and open in 2015. This surrounding district will ultimately comprise of four museums. Gehry Partners has created a unique design tailored to the site, situated facing the central axis of Olympic Park.
Models of Gehry’s design are now on display at the Musuem of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA) until September 16, as part of the A New Sculpturalism exhibition of southern Californian architecture.