UCCA Center for Contemporary Art

Beijing’s revolutionary UCCA Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) has established a name for itself as the premier venue for both introducing artists of international renown and promoting rising domestic stars. While the influence of its ambitious commercial-cultural mix continues to expand in Beijing, this third and newest venue, UCCA EDGE, opens a flexible and accessible arts experience to China’s other cultural metropolis, Shanghai.

EDGE occupies the second to fourth floors of a 86m mixed-use tower, embracing its typology with a diverse set of programs which include exhibition spaces, restaurant, and retail. Local codes mandate prefab elements to comprise 70% of new construction. Our design differentiates the center from adjacent mixed-use floors by breaking away from the pre-existing constraints of a building already under construction.

The selective puncturing of structural slabs diversify the spatial experience of its simple structural efficiency, an architectural gesture that calls attention to verticality and scale. Spaces distinguished by acoustic plaster walls finished in reflective metallic further steer the cultural institution away from a largely off-the-shelf environment context.

A soft entrance wall introduced to existing lobby escalators welcomes visitors and discerns the center from the rest of the curtain wall-clad building. Our design emphasizes material juxtaposition throughout, employed not only for its aesthetics but as a strategy to delineate programs. Rough and sharp, smooth and textured, light and dark, all interwoven to create an unconventional exhibition space.