Roots and Innovation: Yuan Kiln Relic Museum in Jingdezhen

Jingdezhen has a well-documented history that stretches back over 2,000 years. It is known as the "Porcelain Capital"  of the world because it has been producing pottery for 1,700 of them. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, Jingdezhen exported huge amounts of porcelain to Europe.

In Jingdezhen, we can rediscover the roots of human settlement and architecture, which are deeply connected to the city’s nature, culture and history. The city was formed with many kiln complexes as the basic cells, and each complex consisting of a kiln, workshop, and housing. Even today, many historical kiln relic sites can be found in historical areas of the city. These sites not only record the city’s entire history, but also the memory rooted in its culture and tradition. Yet, Jingdezhen is facing the challenge of contradictions between rapid urbanization and preservation, between the contemporary and tradition.

This studio will undertake the challenge of designing a museum at the relic site of the Yuan Dynasty Kiln in Jingdezhen. Students will have the opportunity to explore the possibilities of integrating the  site into the city’s systems of public space.

During the first part of studio, students will research Jingdezhen historical housing, kiln complexes, and materials to discover the roots related to local nature, climate, culture, and history, and to learn the way traditional craftsmen used bricks to build kilns. Students will finalize the scale and programs they proposed during the field trip to Jingdezhen in February.

Following the studio field trip, students will further develop their concepts and designs in very specific ways in terms of structure forms, light, and materials. In the design process, different scales of study models will be encouraged as design methods. The final presentation will include a two-minute video focused on spaces, materials, and light studies.