AND Studio - Lhasa Thangka Museum, the ambition to reconcile modernity and tradition
  1. Home
  2. Award 2023
  3. Culture
  4. Lhasa Thangka Museum, the ambition to reconcile modernity and tradition

Lhasa Thangka Museum, the ambition to reconcile modernity and tradition

AND Studio

Culture  /  Completed
AND Studio

Two years ago we were approached by the largest holder of Tangkha art collection in the world. They asked if we were ready to study for a museum project in Tibet.
We have the ambition to reconcile modernity and tradition. For this we took an initiatory journey to know and understand Tangkha art, local culture, in its expressions of volumetric and architectural composition.
We worked on the organization of the program not as a single built mass but as a composition of volumes, which recalls the organization of Potala Palace.
The progression through the Potala Palace inspires the journey around the volumes of our project. Like a spiritual walk, the route to the roof is made in several stages, echoing the stages that believers must go through to reach Nirvana.

On site, the mountains impose themselves on us. We then know that they will be essential in the project.
We spent time in a monastery, exchanged with monks, listened to the countless stories of the Gods, their chanting and had the privilege of watching them practice their art of Thangka and Mandala.
To carry out this project, the city first allocated a small plot in the heart of a future artists' village.
We propose to lean the building at the foot of the mountains and to break it down into six volumes connected in the slope, like a Tibetan monastery.

We convinced our Client not to import materials from elsewhere, avoiding long supply transportation, favoring local manpower and materials. It was a self-compulsion that challenged our thinking and connected the building even more to environment.
The main tower is used as an exhibition space, a vantage point to admire the landscape and meanwhile acts as a "wind tower": it creates natural ventilation and cools the building during the hot weather.
To protect the environment, quarries are now banned in the region. We therefore chose to reinterpret the traditional stone walls with double ventilated concrete walls.
The double wall structure guarantees the insulation of the building, the reduction energy consumption for heating and cooling by 30%, and the integration of the technical equipment.

The project was intended to be an example of how local culture, traditions, and modernity could be in perfect harmony and we think the right equilibrium is found.
The building is deeply connected to Lhasa culture; following the inclined walls traditions, the monastery’s composition of volumes.
This museum is designed to promote learning and meditation. Light and scenography aims to sublimate the century-old paintings, which will serve as inspiration and testimony for future generations.
The project is organized in 2 paths
External path: takes up the path of the Tibetan monastery, a climb between the different volumes, leads to the high square, where during the Sho Dun festival, you can admire a large Thangka suspended against the tower.
Interior path: organizes the exhibition spaces and the display objects following the path of the believer in search of enlightenment.
The itinerary was designed with the curator and a local monk. The use of natural light as an architectural component has guided the design of the spaces. Zenithal light, claustra and fissures occasionally pierce the walls and roofs of the exhibition halls.
Traditional motifs have inspired the designs of some details. Some key elements were made in bronze, a sacred material, a symbol of prosperity, spiritual abundance and respect. Local artists also intervened for the creation of sculptures and paintings on wood.
We used pressed clay, a local ancestral technique, to create the floor of the exhibition spaces.

Through our architect's eyes, we have transcribed our learning of Buddhist culture to create a museum deeply rooted in the local reality; a secular place where the boundaries between art and spirituality merge


 Lhasa City Investment Financial Investment Holding Group Co., Ltd.
 8658 mq
 Ning Wang, Duccio Cardelli
 Tomasso di Francia, Yutong Ma, Qinyi Li, Luca Amighetti, Dominika Kowalczyk
 Lhasa City Investment Financial Investment Holding Group Co., Ltd.
 Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd.
 Arch-Exist Photography


AND Studio is an international architecture design and consulting corporation, founded by Duccio Cardelli and Ning Wang in Paris, France in 2015 and AND Studio Shanghai sub-branch is established in the same year.

AND’s team comprises professional designers with passion and creativity from Europe and China, and they have participated in various projects with different kinds and scales all around the world. We have abundant cooperation with various top international conåsulting companies in different fields all around the world, to implement design practice in various fields like urban design, architecture design, landscape design, interior design and product design. The solid and stable relationship net is based on the similar architectural conception, harmonious working pace and an open mind widely absorbs different thinking modes and cultural concepts in order to seek a best and most suitable design scheme to every single project.

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054
ITC Avant Garde Gothic® is a trademark of Monotype ITC Inc. registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and which may be registered in certain other jurisdictions.