Client : Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
Architect of record : Wilmotte & Associés SA
Site architect : MADA s.p.a.m.
Lighting designer : MC2
Area : 7,500 m²
Rehabilitation and redevelopment of an industrial building from the 1950s as an art gallery.
Jean-Michel Wilmotte shares with Guy Ullens and his wife a dual passion: contemporary art and an enthusiasm for curation. To house the collection of contemporary Chinese art of this Belgian entrepreneur, which brings together more than a thousand pieces, Wilmotte & Associés SA created a private museum, the UCCA, through the rehabilitation of a 1950s industrial building in the Dashanzi district of Beijing.
The UCCA foundation interior fit-out project is based on the intrinsic qualities of the industrial building. The large concrete portal frames give structure to the whole and only a large brick chimney rises from the ground.
To achieve maximum floor area, Jean-Michel Wilmotte connected two aisles, thus creating twin halls capped by low arches that support the roof.
Set at the key-point of the two aisles’ portal frames, a steel footbridge stands out as a black line in a world of dazzling whiteness.
Of the old factory, Wilmotte & Associés SA retained the brick walls, compressed air machines, and a gigantic brick fireplace encircled with steel, which rises to 34 metres in height.
Edged by black frames, mezzanines emphasize the geometry of the space and provide access to archives and management offices. The use of natural light and indirect lighting emanate from fluorescent tubes set below the ceiling, which create a particularly pleasant ambience.