BingDing Wood Kiln

Designed by: AZL Architects
For client: Floor area: 0.00 M² Year of completion: 2019
Submitted for:

About the Project

Porcelain is deeply ingrained in Jingdezhen’s history. The city is known as the capital of the craft, and it’s been practised locally since the Han Dynasty, for nearly two millennia. The name wood kiln comes from the local preference for using the reddish timber from Horsetail pines for fuel. But modern industrial technologies, environmental protection requirements and new ways of firing the pottery have greatly impacted the industry and left the technique vulnerable to extinction. So AZL’s client, the 70-year-old practitioner Yu Hezhu, began to learn how to complete the kiln building in 2014 from the master before him – there are no blueprints or written documents for the process, and he worried it would get lost in time.

Yet Hezhu’s team and the government don’t just aim to keep the enigmatic history of the wood kiln safe with the project: they also hope it will generate new opportunities for rural craftsmanship inheritance and economic development in the area.

What’s unique about it

The results, kiln and building poetically juxtaposed against the lush environs, make it easy to imagine that they will be successful in their goal. On the ground floor, workspaces are allocated for each step of the process: glazing, moulding, polishing, enamelling and saggering – in layman’s terms, baking. Over 30 employees work on the site day-to-day, and, behind the curved brick kiln, a temporary living space with a bedroom and bathroom was built for them. Visitors are encouraged to enter through the robust concrete arches of the building to participate in the firing process – for them, an observation axis was built on the second floor, encircling the building and creating a hypnotic viewfinder into the labour behind the craft

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