John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, August 20, 2013
While economically depressed Europe relies on its long-established cultural attractions and ancient sites to attract tourists, China is building ever more daring developments that, for fans of extravagant architecture, could well demand a future visit.
After the recent opening of the world’s biggest building in Chengdu, the country is preparing to welcome another superlative structure with the announcement that Pingtan Art Museum, the largest private museum in Asia, is to be built on an artificial island in city of Pingtan.
If the city seems unfamiliar that’s because it doesn’t exist yet. To be constructed on the island of Pingtan in China’s Fujian province, the new city is still being planned and the Pingtan Art Museum is to be its cultural centrepiece. Claiming a construction area of over 40,000sq metres, the RMB800million (£83million) development is intended to act as a smaller scale island off Pingtan Island itself and will be connected to the larger land mass by a slightly undulating pier. The gallery and its environs have been designed by Beijing-based architects MAD who say it “represents a long-lasting earthscape in water and is a symbol of the island in ancient times, with each island containing a mountain beneath it.” The building will be constructed with concrete blended with local shells and the interior is intended to resemble ancient caves.
The planning and development of Pingtan Art Museum began in 2011 but, as is the case with Pingtan city, a completion date for the project hasn’t been confirmed. Pingtan Art Museum will be home to over 1,000 national treasures when complete. Pingtan is the closest island to Taiwan and MAD claims the area will become the primary location for trade and cultural communication between Taiwan and mainland China in future. Taiwan is already home to the National Palace Museum, a similarly ambitious cultural attraction that displays a huge selection of Asian artefacts and artworks.
Image: MAD architects