China’s BingDing Wood Kiln gives ‘traditional craftsmanship the room to live on’

To give our audience eyes and ears into the live judging sessions that took place at Frame Awards 2020, we're sharing coverage of the insightful jury conversations that decided the winning projects. Below, we celebrate the recipient of the award for Best Craftsmanship: BingDing Wood Kiln by AZL Architects. Find the full collection of reports in our newly released May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134.

Jingdezhen, China – ‘Since we live in a world where future manufacturing will involve a lot of 3D printing, and where wood working will be done by CNC cutters – a world that’s becoming so detached from craft – it’s surprising to see a project that speaks about the celebration of craftsmanship in a poetic way.’ Note Design Studio’s Daniel Heckscher was talking about BingDing Wood Kiln by AZL Architects.

Porcelain is deeply ingrained in the history of Jingdezhen – the Chinese prefecture-level city is known as the capital of the craft. New ways of firing ceramics have greatly impacted the industry, leaving the technique vulnerable to extinction. AZL Architects’ client was worried that the skill involved in building a wood kiln of this size would also die out over time. Apameh Ruckert of Zeitgeist Group: ‘We are all supportive of this method of giving traditional craftsmanship the room to live on.’

BingDing Wood Kiln won the Best Craftsmanship title on many levels. Not only is the project itself expertly crafted, but it supports the survival of a traditional craft.

AZL Architects celebrated the beauty of the craft by building an almost sacred structure; ‘mausoleum- and church-like,’ said the jury. ‘Its concrete form echoes its ceremoniousness,’ said Pallavi Dean, before giving the last word to Stefan Diez: ‘The majority of the new generation doesn’t want to learn these skills as they envision their futures in high-tech industries. We see that this project truly holds the potential to generate and preserve interest in the traditional craft of firing ceramics in a wood kiln.’

azlarchitects.com

Read more about the project here. The People’s Choice award winner was Little Shelter Hotel by Department of Architecture.

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