Yunnan's largest collection of historical and archaeological artifacts will soon relocate to an updated home. After nearly four years of construction, the new Yunnan Provincial Museum is nearly complete and scheduled to open to the public in May.
The new facility sits on a ten hectare site near the eastern portion of Guangfu Lu in Kunming's Guandu District. Work on the building's bronze facade and interior structure is finished and construction crews are now installing utilities, tearing down temporary buildings and landscaping the surrounding gardens.
Workers are expected to begin the delicate task of moving the museum's 198,000 piece collection — which includes 500 objects deemed 'national treasures' — to the new location. The center will open it doors for a free exhibition on May 18, which is International Museum Day.
The building was created by architecture design firm Rocco, which among many other projects, drafted plans for the administrative headquarters building in Hong Kong. According to the firm's website, the Yunnan Provincial Museum blueprint:
...derive[s] from the potent imagery of Yunnan's famed local 'stone forest', the dramatic geological landscape sculpted by nature over millions of years. It is the geography of raw, powerful beauty combined with the idea of stacked boxe[s] holding diverse and fragile historical treasures.
In a further nod to Yunnan's reputation of having a generally pleasant environment, designers incorporated solar panels and a natural ventilation system to reduce the facility's carbon footprint. At 50,000 square meters, the 500 million yuan (US$82.6 million) building dwarfs the existing Provincial Museum on Wuyi Lu, which has 2,400 square meters of exhibition space.
Curators told reporters they expect the new space will afford them more opportunities to showcase the museum's extensive collection of bronzes, paintings and other cultural relics, only one-tenth of which is available for viewing at the current location. The Wuyi Lu location will remain open following the move, its focus shifting to hosting traveling art exhibitions.