The region, where pottery has been produced and exported for more than 1,700 years, now has a texture consisting of very old oven complexes. The new museum, originally designed in 2016, consists of brick vaults that conform to the traditional form of the furnace that has been used for pottery making for centuries. Some of the vaults, each of different sizes, curves and lengths, have been integrated with existing remains discovered during the construction of the project.
The museum’s unique, arched structures, such as the old furnaces, not only blend into the complex space, but also reach below ground level to achieve an intimate scale of the interior. This strategy – partly a response to the height of the surrounding historic buildings – creates a productive uncertainty associated with the horizontal form of the building. The “placement” of the building on the floor of the space produces a series of public spaces at street level; it also allows for a number of more intimate open vault and courtyard designs within the museum. In Jingdezhen, most of these public spaces have shades sheltered from rain and heat, as the summer is very hot and rainy.
Architect: Studio Pei Zhu
After the visitors cross the bridge and enter the foyer, they pass through the exhibition area with a series of arches and different openings, and finally come across a staircase that leads down to 5 different sunken courtyards. However, when visitors see the porcelain, ruins and sunken courtyards that create various layers of experience with old bricks on the facade, they experience a three-in-one (oven-porcelain-people) museum experience. When they turn right from the foyer, they pass through the bookshop, cafe, and tea room, and finally a semi-open area under the arch is reached and a picturesque view is witnessed.
5 sunken courtyards of different sizes have different themes including gold, wood, water, fire and earth. These five themes not only reflect ancient China’s thinking about the world, but are also associated with porcelain making techniques. The overall experience of the museum seeks to rediscover Jingdezhen’s roots, recreating the past experience between furnace, porcelain and human.
The basic structure of the museum is the arched structure system and it is made of concrete poured between two layers of masonry brick walls. There is a small belt placed vertically to connect the two arches. Bricks dominate the materials of the museum, while recycled old kiln bricks were mixed with new bricks to reflect the local building culture.
The visitor can have a 360-degree sensory experience through repeated contact between exterior and interior, which stimulates touch, smell, hearing and sight and takes the visitor on a kind of journey between past, present and nature.