Dedicated to the unique history of ceramics in Jingdezhen, the Imperial Kiln Museum designed by Studio Zhu Pei recently opened in the Chinese city. Studio Zhu Pei has designed a remarkable structure made of hand-crafted brick vaults. Unlike other museums that showcase history, Zhu Pei has gone a step further to study its location thoroughly and has even integrated archaeological findings into the museum's design. Bringing together more context to this site, the remains of Jingdezhen’s distinctive porcelain industry from the Ming and Qing dynasties surround this museum.
“The vault structure of the museum is an abstract of the traditional kiln, in combination with the sleekness of China,” said the architects. They were motivated to create a museum that is as much a handcrafted form, as it is full of life. They worked together to design a museum that was not only true to their identity but also one that architecturally complements and contrasts their surroundings. Across the road sits a Tang Dynasty pagoda, and their next-door neighbors are block concrete structures.
The Imperial Kiln Museum creates both physical and spiritual connections through its structures. By dabbling between being above and below the ground, it showcases unearthed relics that are part of the entire museum’s experience. Walking through the museum’s vaults, that resemble hollow cigars, visitors not only witness the sheer architectural feat in creating these arches made of handmade bricks but also experience the history of Jingdezhen’s primary industry that has lasted for thousands of years.
Take a look at our visit to the Imperial Kiln Museum here:
About Studio Zhu Pei
Studio Zhu Pei was founded by Zhu Pei, one of China's leading architects. Zhu Pei has won The Architectural Review Future Project Awards in 2017, Honor Award from the AIA in 2015, he was named one of “The 5 Greatest Architects Under 50” by the Huffington Post in 2011, and won the Courvoisier Design Award by Wallpaper in 2009, to name a few.
In 2006 and 2007, Zhu Pei was commissioned by the Guggenheim Foundation to design the Guggenheim Art Pavilion in Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim Museum in Beijing. His built works include Cai Guo-Qiang Courtyard House Renovation (Beijing, 2007), Digital Beijing, Olympics Control Center (Beijing, 2008), OCT Design Museum, Minsheng Museum of Modern Art (Beijing, 2015), Taimiao Art Museum (Beijing, 2015), etc. While working on the Imperial Kiln Museum, he also worked on the Jingjiang Cultural Center, Dali Museum of Contemporary Art, Shijingshan Cultural Center, Yang Liping Performing Arts Center, Shou County Culture and Art Center.
His works have been exhibited at international events such as the Venice Biennial, the Sao Paulo Art Biennial, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, the Dresden State Art Museum in Germany, AEDES in Germany, Kassel in Germany, Harvard University and Rome MAXXI Museum in Italy.
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