Kiln-inspired vaults made of recycled kiln bricks

The Imperial Kiln Museum in Jingdezhen, China, known as the Porcelain Capital in the world, designed by Studio Zhu-Pei, has arched brick vaults shaped like kilns, made in part of recycled kiln bricks.

Jingdezhen has been producing pottery for 1,700 years, and during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912), the city exported huge amounts of porcelain to Europe. The early settlements of the city developed around kiln complexes which included kilns, workshops and housing. The museum is located on the east side of a fairly restricted historical area of the Imperial Kiln ruins.

The building comprises of more than half a dozen brick vaults, based on the traditional form of the kiln. Each vault is different size, curvature, and length. The vaults were carefully integrated with the many existing ruins, including a few that were found during the construction.

The architect, Studio Zhu-Pei, took inspiration from local ancient kiln tectonic and materials. Historically, craftsman built the brick kilns without scaffolding. The kilns have to be demolished every two to three years in order to keep certain thermal performances of the kilns. These bricks are recycled to build houses in Jingdezhen, and were also used, mixed with new bricks, to make the museum.

Images: Studio Zhu-Pei / schranimage / Tian Fangfang / Zhang Qinquan (via V2com)