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Introduction to Capital Museum

08-12-2011 10:16 BJT

The plan for the Capital Museum, located in the Confucius Temple, was prepared in 1953. The museum formally opened in 1981.

As a major cultural construction project in Beijing in the “10th Five-Year Plan”, the new Capital Museum, approved by Beijing Municipal Government in 1999, further approved by the State Council after being submitted by the National Development and Reform Commission in 2001, finally commenced its construction in December 2001.

Under the concern and guidance of Beijing Municipal Government, after four years of hard work, the museum finally makes its debut along the western extension of Chang’an Street, the First Street of China. With its magnificent architecture, abundant exhibitions, advanced technology and complete functions, the Capital Museum, large and modern, makes its contribution to the titles such as “famous historical and cultural city”, “cultural center” and “international metropolis” of Beijing and ranks among the first class museums both at home and abroad.

Classical Architecture

Classical Architecture

The architectural design concept of the Capital Museum is “Based on human and cultural heritages to serve the society” and underlines “Harmonious integration of past and present, history and modernism, art and nature”.

The construction of the Capital Museum itself is an architectural artwork integrating both classical and modern beauty. It is of distinct national characteristics on one hand and obvious modern feeling on the other. The massive roof inherits its design from the roof overhang of Chinese traditional architectural style; the long stone curtain wall stands for the city wall in ancient China; the gradient of the square refers to the architectural style of dais construction in ancient time; a piece of Danbi (a piece of massive stone carved with images like dragon, phoenix or cloud for gods to walk on) is imbedded in the ground in front of the north gate of the hall; a decorative archway from the Ming Dynasty is set in the hall, which shows the traditional Chinese architectural characteristic of “central axis in a plane”; the leaning and projecting wall of the oval Bronze Exhibition Hall implies unearthing of ancient relics.

Large quantity of bronze, timbers and stones used presents an even deeper sense of historical profoundness. Stones used in the ground of the north square and the grand hall are all produced in Fangshan, where stones have constantly been supplied for construction of Beijing since ancient time. Elms, the most commonly seen trees in Beijing, are adopted as external decoration materials of the Rectangular Exhibition Hall; while bronze, decorated with texture style of the bronzes of the Western Zhou Dynasty unearthed in Beijing, is used to decorate the external facades of the Oval Exhibition Hall.

The steel structure canopy roof and glass curtain wall express the dynamic time pace of Beijing, while grand and transparent visual effect keeps abreast with the international fashion of modern architecture.

There are three independent constructions within the new museum, they are respectively, the Rectangular Exhibition Hall, the Oval Exhibition Hall and the quadrate Office & Scientific Research Building. Spaces between them are the central hall and indoor bamboo courtyard. An environment of both human and natural sentiment is therefore created by adopting natural light, blended with the decorative archway of Chinese style, sunken bamboo courtyard and rippling water.

The museum is highly praised by personalities from all walks of life both at home and abroad immediately upon completion.


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