Aedes Architecture Forum recently inaugurated the "Jinyun Quarries – The Quarry as Stage" exhibition, which showcases the transformation of abandoned stone quarries in the Zhejiang Province, China, into a platform for cultural and social activities. Beijing architect Xu Tiantian and the team of DnA_Design and Architecture were tasked with developing a new public infrastructure inside nine of the mines in Jinyun County, thus opening up new economic perspectives for the local people. Running until May 5th, the exhibition highlights the extraordinary spatiality of the stone quarries while communicating the complexity of the structures through a series of models, plans and photographs of the interventions.
The mountainous region of Jinyun County in Zhejiang Province, China, contains over 3000 small, disused quarries where the stone used to be mined manually. Having considerable experience in developing strategies for revitalizing rural areas via "architectural acupuncture", architect Xu Tiantian and her team were tasked in 2021 with developing new programmatic strategies for nine of the mines in the Xiandu valley. The interventions were meant to simultaneously improve the area's ecology and create new economic opportunities for the rural population. The pits have been transformed into a stage for cultural activities, capitalizing on the region's touristic appeal.
The interventions are located within a one-kilometre radius, and each location comprises footpaths and stairs that connect the various forms cut into the rock. Some cathedral-like spaces proved to have good acoustics and were converted into performance spaces for traditional Wu opera. Several stone chambers are used as teahouses, while a few platforms allow visitors to observe the landscape. An education centre and a restaurant are also in the making. Within the nine quarries, visitors can experience the unique spatiality, light and acoustics of the man-made landscape.
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The focus on ecology and reconciliation with nature was also reflected in the making of the exhibition. The models produced in China were delivered to Aedes by train, the most sustainable means possible, while the other components were produced in Berlin. At the Architectural Forum, a large-scale installation reproduces the spatial feeling of the stone quarries.