BingDing Wood Kiln Factory Renovation / AZL architects

BingDing Wood Kiln Factory Renovation / AZL architects
overall view © Li Yao

BingDing Wood Kiln Factory Renovation / AZL architects - More Images+ 48

Jingdezhen City, China
  • Architects: AZL architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  1800
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2018
  • Lead Architect: Lei Zhang
© Suhong Dong

Text description provided by the architects. The county of Fuliang was once under the administrative jurisdiction of Jingdezhen, the Porcelain Capital of China, and is known as the origin of the Porcelain Capital. The Gaoling Ancient Mine Ruins in Fuliang is also a holy place for international ceramics culture. Located in Fuliang’s Qiancheng Village, BingDing Wood kiln is less than an hour’s drive from the urban area of Jingdezhen. The site is surrounded by mountains and bamboo forests in a tranquil environment.

birdview © Li Yao

Jingdezhen wood kiln is named after the locals’ preference of using the Chinese “Horsetail” red pine wood as a form of fuel, and has been the symbol of the industry for nearly 2,000 years. Like any traditional craftsmanship that has survived over more than one millennium’s history, it is suffering from the impact of modern technology and new ways of firing. Due to the difficulty in controlling the wood consumption and the firing effects, the development of wood kiln is hindered. In recent years, with the widespread adoption of coal and natural gas fuels in the newer industrial technologies, as well as the impact of environmental protection requirements, wood kiln is facing a threat of extinction. At present, the construction technology for Jingdezhen egg-shaped wood kiln is only inherited by the 70-years-old Mr. Yu Hezhu and his three or four apprentices. This gives rise to the threat that the construction technology may soon be abandoned in the long history of humanity.

facade details © Li Yao

As a practitioner zealously interested in revitalizing the traditional kiln, the project owner, Mr. Yu, began to learn from the 83-year-old master, Yu Xunquan in 2012 for kiln calcining, and then studied under the local’s only successor of the wood kiln technique, Yu Hezhu, to learn the kiln building technique in 2014. BingDing Wood kiln is the masterpiece he completed with his teacher, Yu Hezhu. The construction of the complex double-curved brick arch masonry for the egg-shaped wood kiln can only be based on experience, neither there are any blueprints for reference during the entire construction process, nor is there any written documents exitsing so far.

front entrance © Li Yao
front entrance details © Li Yao

BingDing Wood kiln consists of the kiln building and the kiln. The design revolves around the kiln as the core, coupled with the configuration of the streamlined and parallel production axis and observation axis. The kiln building adopts a concrete arch similar to the kiln’s brick arch structure, and stresses the axial symmetry of the east and the west of the kiln. The top light belts, the wall windows, and the floor vertical joints of the kiln building are all directed to the central axis of the kiln.

Courtesy of AZL architects

The production lines of the kiln building are mainly located on the ground floor, including the front platform of the kiln and the steps on the two sides of the stairs, which are largely used during kiln filling, kiln calcining, and kiln opening. The rooms near the exterior windows on the two sides of the ground floor are spaces for daily work like glazing, moulding, polishing, enameling, saggering, and porcelain storage. More than 30 kiln workers work on the site during kiln filling, kiln calcining, and kiln opening, day and night. Behind the kiln is their temporary living space, including the bedroom, bathroom and so on.

skylight © Li Yao
1F working space © Li Yao

There will be many visitors entering and participating in the entire porcelain firing process. The observation axis on the second floor is centered toward the kiln and is encircling the building, so that the vivid spatial relationship between buildings and kiln can be perceived from different angles, highlighting the core position of the kiln. The BingDing Wood kiln is a ceremonial space, where the kiln workers have a sense of pride in their work, and also where a strong sense of awe towards both the traditional crafting technique and the unremitting spirit of craftsmanship can be felt unanimously by the visitors.

set fire ceremony © Li Yao

Concrete formwork are not fixed by ordinary mounting bolt in the construction of the concrete structure in BingDing Wood kiln, but rather a supported by the steel structures outside the concrete form for casting. In addition to the fair-faced concrete, the main material of BingDing Wood kiln is only the kiln bricks for the kiln. The arched window holes above the second floor of the building project form patterns of light and shadows with the lattice inlaid by kiln bricks.

interior © Li Yao
© Suhong Dong

In the beautiful and tranquil hilly village of Qiancheng, Mr.yu and his wife as well as the local government hope to bring more attention to the Jingdezhen ceramic industry and new opportunities for rural craftsmanship inheritance and economic development, along with the revival of the wood kiln. In Chinese culture, porcelain has never only served as a necessity for daily life, but also an important container for the sentiments in life.

interior © Li Yao


stove © Suhong Dong
stove © Suhong Dong


concrete arch © Li Yao


stove © Suhong Dong

丙丁柴窑选址“前程村”,除了得天独厚的自然生态环境,更寓意前程似锦的美好未来。丙丁柴窑从无到有,今年4月初步落成,大水窑4月29日景德镇解放70周年日点火成功。 21路近2000多件瓷器5月4日开窑后完美呈现,更有黄卖九老先生的窑宝青花瓷瓶C位惊艳亮相。丙丁柴窑终得圆满,建筑与柴窑形式与内容高度契合。

1F working space © Suhong Dong

2018年5月25日同济大学李翔宁教授策展的第十六届威尼斯建筑双年展中国馆在威尼斯军械库拉开帷幕。 “我们的乡村”回到中国文化的发源地,去寻找被遗忘的价值和被忽视的可能性。丙丁柴窑作为六个展览主题之一“业”板块的代表性作品,在中国馆主入口正对面,表达我们对传统技艺和工匠精神的敬畏。在前程这个优美宁静的丘陵山村,老余夫妇和地方政府希望借助柴窑的复兴,带来更多对景德镇陶瓷产业的关心关注,带来乡村技艺传承和经济发展新的契机。在中国文化里,瓷器从来不仅被作为日常生活的必需品,更是感悟生活的重要容器。


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Project location

Address:Jingdezhen City, Jiangxi Province, China

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "BingDing Wood Kiln Factory Renovation / AZL architects" [景德镇丙丁柴窑 / 张雷联合建筑事务所] 06 Jun 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

front entrance © Li Yao

景德镇丙丁柴窑 / 张雷联合建筑事务所

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