Jingdezhen was growing naturally fitting in the valleys surrounding rivers, hills, and mountains because of the porcelain industry. The early settlements of the city developed around kiln complexes which included kiln, workshops, and housing. The street pattern was generated by nature and the porcelain industry. Most of the small alleys in between kiln complexes have always approached the Chang river in order to transport porcelain products to the river. The main streets have always been along with Chang river to bring all businesses and commerces together.
The Imperial Kiln Museum comprises more than half a dozen brick vaults base on the traditional form of the kiln, each of the vaults is of a different size, curvature, and length. They were naturally applied to the site, carefully integrated with many existing ruins including a few ruins that were found after the construction.
The unparalleled, liner, and arched structures of the museum, like old kilns, reach below the level of the street to not only give the flexibility to adapt itself into the complicated site, but also to achieve the intimate scale of interior space. This strategy - in part also as a response to the height of surrounding historical buildings - leads to productive ambiguity in relation to the building’s horizontal datum. The “insertion” of the building into the ground of the site produces a series of public spaces at street level. More importantly, it allows for the design of a number of more intimate open vaults, and courtyards within the museum. Most of those public spaces are covered under shaded and are protected from the rain because it is hot and it rains a lot during summer in Jingdezhen. One of those open spaces, two open vaults sited in both ends, will also reveal the traces of the historic fabric on the site.
Five sunken courtyards varied in size have a different theme: gold, wood, water, fire, soil. Those five themes not only reflect old Chinese thinking about the earth but also associate with porcelain making techniques.
The overall experience of the museum tries to rediscover the roots of Jingdezhen, to recreate the past experience among kiln, porcelain, and human being.
Structure and Materials
使用回收窑砖建造房屋kinds of buildings is a significant character in Jingdezhen because brick kilns have to be demolished every two or three years in order to keep a certain thermal performance of the kilns. The entire city was covered by recycled kiln bricks. Those bricks record warmth and are inseparable from the lifeblood of the city. In the past, the children would take a warm brick from the firing kilns to place in their schoolbags to keep themselves warm the whole day during freezing winter.
The materials of the museum are dominated by bricks, recycled old kiln bricks are mixed with new bricks to reflect the local culture of construction.
Even the light evokes active and tangible memories and is the proof of how ancient techniques can be reinterpreted and reread in a contemporary key.