iChongqing Title

New Design Reignites Old Kiln in Chongqing

By XINYI LI|Apr 17,2019

From ChinaDaily

A university teacher from Southwest China's Chongqing has transformed an old-fashioned kiln into a stunning cultural place, which has become a tourist attraction.

The kiln, once prosperous, produced delicate ceramic products that sold well across the country for generations. Unfortunately, due to antiquated techniques and business practices, the kiln fell into bankruptcy.


Tian Qi, born in November 1973, is a teacher at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning of Chongqing University. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

After the kiln's owner Liu Zhonghua met with university teacher Tian Qi by chance in June 2015, things began to change.


The original work shed for Liu Zhonghua's kiln in Sanhe village of Chongqing's Shapingba. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The 45-year-old Tian, who works at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning of Chongqing University, had a vision.

In support of traditional pottery and the spirit of craftsmanship, Tian came up with the idea of transforming Liu's shaky kiln into a public cultural place combining rural tourism and cultural creativity.


A craftsman is making pottery in Liu Zhonghua's old kiln. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Tian named the renewed kiln Yuanshan Youyao, meaning "there is a kiln over that faraway mountain".


The entrance to Yuanshan Youyao, which has become a new attraction in Southwest China's Chongqing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Recently, people who love culture and arts have flocked to the spot. Each weekend, groups of parents and children come to learn pottery from Liu. The kiln has also been reserved for making large ceramic works.

Visitors are amazed to discover that the slope of the house is parallel to the distant mountains. What's more, a harmonious view of the sky, mountains, kiln, and lights, the overall design embodies the perfect combination of architecture and nature.


A view of Tian Qi's Yuanshan Youyao. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Thankfully, the kiln's great transformation has saved Liu's ancestral skills and has boosted the local rural economy.

In July 2017, Liu's pottery skills were listed among the local intangible cultural heritage. In September 2017, Yuanshan Youyao won the ninth China Weihai International Architectural Design Competition.


A view of Tian Qi's design and the ladder kiln. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]


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