Built on the doorstep of Beijing’s historic Forbidden City, the Guardian Art Center is a new hybrid cultural institution that embodies the city’s traditional urban fabric and thriving metropolitan energy. The world’s first ever custom-built auction house, it represents a new typology of a hybrid arts institution in the heart of Beijing. Offering museum quality galleries and state of the art conservation facilities, the building is also a community resource and integrated lifestyle concept with restaurants, a hotel, flexible event spaces, and public transport infrastructure. The design carefully inscribes the building into its surrounding context, in a sensitive architectural interpretation that fuses history and tradition with a contemporary vision for the future of a cultural art space. The ‘pixelated’ volumes of the lower portion of the building subtly refer to the adjacent historic urban fabric, echoing the grain, color and intricate scale of Beijing’s hutongs, while the upper portion of the building responds to the larger scale of the surrounding contemporary city. The building’s facades take on a specific role in its cultural expression and Chinese integration: materiality, color, and texture establish abstract and subtle correspondence with Chinese symbols and meaning. The grey stone-like pixels of the lower portion of the building are perforated by several thousand circular openings – generated by projecting one of China’s most important historic landscape paintings, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, onto its facades and thereby creating a subtle light filter through an abstracted landscape silhouette.