Located in Jingdezhen, the Historical Museum of Imperial Kiln celebrates this Chinese town’s tradition in ceramic production.

Jingdezhen was born out of a kiln (special kind of oven for firing porcelain) and became prosperous due to the manufacturing of china. Before making the major inspiration of this project, china production and the special structure of kiln have been branded across the hearts of local people for thousands of years. The vault structure of the museum is an abstract of traditional kiln, in combination with the sleekness of china. With a few twists and cuts, the museum was designed as a handcraft work, natural yet full of life.

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View to historical relics from exhibition hall in Jingdezhen historical museum. © Studio Pei-Zhu

The historical museum is located in Jingdezhen, which is a small town celebrated for its china production. The museum sets foot between Imperial Kiln and Xujia Kiln, beside a cluster of workshops that dates back to Ming, Qing dynasties.

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View to longzhu pavilion from foyer of lecture hall in jingdezhen historical museum © Studio Pei-Zhu

Surrounded by multiple cultural and historical sites, the museum is in direct sight contact with Tang Dynasty pagoda. The uniqueness of the location defined its own peculiar urban texture. The museum respects the historical site contact by taking its form and scale low key and modest. Through composition, rotation and gathering of individual volumes of vaults, the project consciously breaks the inherent urban texture, activates surroundings environment and also contributes to the special experience of the exhibition. An interesting conversation can be emerged between the museum and local surroundings. The uniqueness of the museum architecture speaks both for its particular form, its open choice of use and particular historical site.

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View to historical relics in Jingdezhen historical museum. © Studio Pei-Zhu

Thriving on its chronicle production of china for many great centuries, Jingdezhen had been Imperial factories for multiple Dynasties. Its production speaks for the highest standards of china quality. In spite of being obsolete, the Imperial Kiln relic survived and stores great history and stories untold. Vaults of the museum reflect unearthed relics, with half of its volume remained underground. It creates connections, both physical and spiritual, between aboveground and underground; present and history. The museum guides visitors into kilns, ruins, and back to the traditions and culture of local history. The form is simple and primitive, yet full of strength. In silence and light people are encouraged, by the honesty of architecture, to feel the history and culture. Studio Pei-Zhu expects that visitors will have a chance to rethink upon the relationship between this city and its kilns, its past and its future.

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Space and material study Jingdezhen historical museum © Studio Pei-Zhu

China is first known to the world because of china production. Being the birthplace of greatest china, Jingdezhen is one of the important representatives of the country’s culture and the start of the Maritime Silk Road. Reflections of vaulted structures of the museum resemble the sails of ships, claiming its pride for past and future of Jingdezhen.

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Exhibition hall in Jingdezhen historical museum © Studio Pei-Zhu

A single museum is capable of changing an entire city. The historical museum of china is bound for carrying on the culture of china, telling the stories of Jingdezhen’s history and culture to the world, and bringing out new life and events to the city. As a city known for its historic culture, Jingdezhen will take this cultural and artistic opportunity to drive its economy towards a worldwide famous city of culture.

Studio Pei-Zhu

Studio Pei-Zhu

Chinese architecture office based in Beijing. Founded in 2005 by Zhu Pei, one of China's leading architects, the firm has completed several museums and cultural buildings in the country and abroad.

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