Just outside Beijing, Songzhuang became a refuge for persecuted artists in the 1990s. It is now a haven for some 4000 artists, for whom this new museum provides a cultural hub and international platform for displaying their work. At ground level a flowing, open-plan space provides casual common areas, its glazed walls allowing internal and external space to merge. The gallery space above is more introverted, lit via skylights and courtyards so that the art on display provides the view, the red-brick cladding referring to nearby rural houses. The use of primarily local construction materials and labour make the museum a building of civic pride.