David Chipperfield builds Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan in Jingdezhen

David Chipperfield Architects has built a theater and hotel complex in Jingdezhen, China, as part of a master plan to revive a former porcelain factory district.

The London-based studio’s Berlin office developed the Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan masterplan for the city known as China’s porcelain capital.

The project was to transform an entire urban block near the city center into a cultural district that celebrates the city’s unique industrial heritage.

The Taoxichuan Grand Theater is one of many new buildings on the site

Former factory buildings on the site have already been converted to create a museum, ceramics market and china shops, and David Chipperfield Architects is also building a music academy.

With the completion of the Taoxichuan Grand Theater and hotel complex – which includes two hotels and an event venue – the site renewal is nearing completion.

According to David Chipperfield Architects, the ambition behind Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan is “not only to preserve and convert existing buildings for reuse, but to complement the urban district with new buildings to gain a contemporary presence”.

Hotel, Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan by David Chipperfield Architects
The site includes a complex of four hotel buildings

The designs of the new buildings refer to the industrial architecture of the old porcelain factories.

All these buildings highlight the masonry, referring to the materiality of the old warehouses. But the bricks are often arranged in perforated screens, which gives them a more decorative character.

Hotel, Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan by David Chipperfield Architects
Pedestrian bridges are a key element of the master plan

The buildings are all connected by a boulevard and a pedestrian promenade, to encourage visitors to explore the entire site.

The Taoxichuan Grand Theater has two halls, a classical opera house and a black box theater.

Theater Foyer, Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan by David Chipperfield Architects
Mushroom-shaped columns characterize the theater building

The building is characterized by huge mushroom-shaped columns that frame the main foyer. Located in front of and behind the glazed façade, they support a monumental projecting concrete roof.

The interior of the foyer is also concrete, with tactile details like wooden surfaces and a glass block wall.

Theater Foyer, Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan by David Chipperfield Architects
A glass brick wall frames the foyer

The curved shape of the horseshoe-shaped opera house is visible from the street and also extends into the foyer. Its 1,200-seat auditorium is clad in walnut veneer and framed by three levels of balconies.

“With this classic European format, the auditorium reflects the meaningful connectivity of audience and performers as one community who jointly experience an artistic performance as a singular and authentic live event, as opposed to the digital environment of today,” said David Chipperfield Architects.

Theater Auditorium, Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan by David Chipperfield Architects
A horseshoe-shaped opera house has 1,200 seats

The black box theater has a more contemporary feel, with a flexible and mobile stage setup.

The space is lined with ebonized wood and can be opened up to facilitate outdoor performances.

Located immediately south of the theater complex, the hotel complex is made up of four buildings plus a former dormitory converted into apartments.

The four new buildings have a similar aesthetic, with brick walls, deep windows, and recessed balconies.

Hotel Complex Entrance, Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan by David Chipperfield Architects
The hotel buildings are connected by a steel and glass structure

They are connected at ground level by a lighter structure built of steel and glass, which links the entrances together and facilitates navigation on the site. This space can also be used for public exhibitions and activities.

The hotel buildings are organized around open-air courtyard gardens, while the events block contains a series of flexible function rooms.

Hotel Courtyard, Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan by David Chipperfield Architects
The hotel rooms are organized around the courtyard gardens

“The semi-transparent facades of the reception rooms and the perforated railings of the hotel balconies act as a filter between private and public spaces,” said David Chipperfield Architects.

“The staggered brick columns bring the overall volume of the building to human scale.”

Academy of Music, Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan by David Chipperfield Architects
The Music Academy is due to end in 2022

Due for completion in 2022, the Academy of Music is under construction at the southern end of the Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan site.

Designed to include teaching facilities, recording studios and a 350-seat concert hall, the facility is being created in two former factory buildings which are being modernized with new tiled roofs and a new bold interior design.

The material palette of this building includes maple veneer, pine wood and mastic asphalt.

To date, David Chipperfield Architects has completed a number of projects in China including the Liangzhu Culture Museum, Xixi Wetland Estate and Moganshan Road Office Building, all in Hangzhou.

Ceramic Art Avenue Taoxichuan is the studio’s first project in Jingdezhen, a city where investing in culture has become a priority in recent years.

Jingdezhen Imperial Furnace Museum, designed by Studio Zhu-Pei, opened to much fanfare in 2020, while Sanbaopeng Art Museum, designed by DL Atelier, opened on the outskirts of the city in 2017 .

Project credits

Architect: David Chipperfield Architects, Berlin
Customer: Jingdezhen Ceramics Cultural Tourism Group
Local design institute: ISA Architecture, Shanghai
Acoustic: Kahle Acoustics, TongJi Architectural Design
Light design: Leox
Landscape architect: Possibility Design Studio, ISA Architecture

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