Four years after the foundation stone was laid, the Chinese National Museum in Beijing opens its doors to the public on 1st April 2011. The rebuilding and extension scheme to plans by architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) combines the former Chinese History Museum and Chinese Revolutionary Museum. With 192,000 m² of floor space, the building in the heart of Beijing is the largest museum in the world. It will showcase the art and history of one of mankind’s oldest cultures. Along with Chinese representatives, the Director-Generals Michael Eissenhauer (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Martin Roth (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) and Klaus Schrenk (Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen Munich) as well as architect Meinhard von Gerkan are expected to attend the ceremonial opening ceremony.
First completed in 1959 as one of ten important public buildings in Tiananmen Square, the structure represented a milestone in modern Chinese architectural history even then. The scheme now completed continues this design in a contemporary vein. The architects of the new works opted for the flighted roof typologies of the Forbidden City characteristic of other buildings in the vicinity — only differentiated in detail and materials. In addition, they
came up with a contemporary version of the colonnades and window systems typical of the existing building.
Contemporaneously with the inauguration of the Chinese National Museum, a special exhibition of works of art from German collections — the biggest ever — will be opening on the premises on the same day. The Berlinbased Staatliche Museen, Dresden-based Staatliche Kunstsammlungen and Munich-based Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen are exhibiting over 450 works to do with the Art of the Enlightenment on 2,700 m² of floor space. The emphasis will be on works of art that overtly manifest the ideas of the Enlightenment, its influence on art and the way it was received, from the artistic revolutions of the 18th century down to the present-day.
Competition 2004 – 1st prize
Outline design Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Stephan Rewolle and Doris Schäffler
Revised design Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Stephan Rewolle
Project management Matthias Wiegelmann with Patrick Pfleiderer
Design staff Gregor Hoheisel, Katrin Kanus, Ralf Sieber, Du Peng, Chunsong Dong
Executive staff Bao Wei, Johanna Enzinger, Anna Bulanda-J., Kong Jing, Andreas Goetze, Guo Fuhui, Mulyanto, Chen Yue, Zheng Xin, Gao Hua, Xing Jiuzhou, Helga Reimund, Tobias Keyl, Christian Dorndorf, Annette Loeber,
Verena Fischbach, Jiang LinLin, Liu Yan, Mehrafarin Rubehi, Yoko Uraji, Lu Han, Xia Lin, Tian Jinghai, Uli Bachmann, Ajda Guelbahar, Iris Belle, Sabine Stage
Chinese partner firm CABR (Chinese Academy of Building Research), Beijing
Client National Museum of China
GFA 192,000 m²
Start of planning 2004
Foundation stone laid 17th March 2007
Construction period 2007–2011