An illustration of the new National Art Museum of China gallery.
The National Art Museum of China is to build the world's largest art gallery next to the Bird's Nest, one of Beijing's most famous landmarks, it was revealed this week.
The announcement follows the recent expansion of the National Museum of China, which will reopen to the public on April 1, as well as the opening of the China Science and Technology Museum's new base in the north of the capital in 2009.
Designs for the latest new venue, which will be located close to the Olympic Park, are now being drawn up, said Fan Di'an, director of the State-run art museum and a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee, the nation's top advisory body, during the recent annual sessions.
Yu Ge in the museum's public relations department later confirmed the information with METRO, but declined to release further details about the project.
The gallery, which is listed as a key cultural project in the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), will cover almost 130,000 square meters, making it larger than any other existing gallery in the world, according to Fan. He said he hopes construction can start next spring.
As residents and tourists continue to show a growing interest toward Beijing's art scenes, experts say the city's venues do not have enough space to adequately display works, especially State-level institutions built after the founding of New China.
The National Art Museum of China, which was built in Dongcheng district in 1963, is 8,300 square meters in size. After opening its doors to the public for free on March 2, it has regularly received about 6,000 visitors at peak times, almost hitting capacity, said Fan.
In the next five years, four more State-run museums will be built in the Olympic Park, including the National Arts and Crafts Museum and China Music Museum, Beijing Daily reported.