In spite of the Chinese government’s decree against weird buildings, the recently completed Dong Zhuang Museum of Western Regions in the autonomous territory of Xinjiang is definitely on the stranger side. Designed by Xinjiang Wind Architectural Design & Research Institute, the structure boasts unusual curved forms, Escher-like staircases, and off-kilter windows and skylights. Its thick walls were also built using the region’s traditional materials: stone, rammed earth, and sun-dried mud bricks. The result is a new building that feels old and somehow otherworldly.
"From afar, it looks like an off-white stone rolled down from the mountain, standing quietly and naturally in the open and vast Gobi Desert of Inner Eurasia," said the architects, according to Dezeen. "The texture of materials is highlighted on the building's surface to obtain a natural completeness of a non-specific space."
The building’s solidity is due in part to its former life as a grain silo and also as a shield from the region’s harsh winters and scorching summers. Inside, the 83,000-square-foot museum boasts open floors illuminated by natural light. In addition to gallery space, the building has areas for research, events, and even a guest house with a private gallery.