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 located in the heart of Beijing. Offering museum-quality galleries and state of the art conservation facilities, the building is also a community resource with restaurants, a hotel, flexible event spaces, and integrated public transport infrastructure. The 'pixelated' volumes of the lower portion of the building subtly refer to the adjacent historic urban fabric, echoing the grain, colour and intricate scale of Beijing's hutongs. The sensitive architectural interpretation fuses history and tradition with a contemporary vision for the future.