Skip to main content
Architecture (MA)

Jianqiang (Vincent) Xia

Jianqiang (Vincent) Xia is an architectural researcher and designer who is currently based in London.

He graduated in 2018 with a First-Class Honours degree in Architecture from Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University, where his final project Urban Lanterns Meeting Calamities: Buildings that Morph was nominated for the RIBA President's Bronze Medal. Vincent has since acquired three years of experience as an architectural assistant in Shenzhen and Shanghai.

During his first year at the RCA, with ADS7, his project titled Primitive Future: The Potential of Bamboo in the Circular Economy tells the scenario of the circular economy model centring on bamboo through time as a carbon dioxide removal project.

This year, his work is focused on the Artist Village in the porcelain capital - Jingdezhen.

conceptual model

With the rising cost of living in the metropolis and the pressure of excessive competition, many young generations are choosing to leave from the Metropolis and live in small towns or villages. Jingdezhen, a porcelain capital for a thousand years, has attracted a large number of young porcelain artists, known as "Jing drifters". Artists gather in villages to create artwork to revive public interest in villages. The vast space of the countryside provides artists with the freedom and resources to create, while their work brings life and alternative collective modes of living & art creation.

From traditional family-based practice to large-scale state-run industrial production spaces to the independently run studios of young artists today, porcelain production spaces and potter’s living spaces have existed in different forms in different eras.

How will the space of production evolve in the future?

What are the spatial requirements for these young artists?

How should they live and work in this village?

What does the architecture of openness mean to them?

Village as project, material as context and architecture of openness as target. This project investigates the existing living condition of these young artists in Jingdezhen, studying the porcelain production process and testing the properties of the material, aiming to explore the potentiality of using porcelain as an architectural material to create collective living spaces for contemporary artists in sanbao village. 

With the rising cost of living in the metropolis and the deteriorating living environment, China has slowly begun to de-urbanization process in recent years. More and more young people chose to work and live in smaller cities or even in the villages. It seems to be a new craze to escape from the metropolis, reject the excessive competition and find a more peaceful state of life in smaller cities away from the hustle and bustle. Artists are gathering in villages to create artwork to revive public interest in some of the hollow villages as an emerging means of revitalizing them. The vast space of the countryside provides artists with the freedom and resources to create, while their work brings life and profit to the declining villages. Some artists have thus chosen to stay in the villagesand run their own studios on a long-term basis.

site plan 1:1000
Site Plan
site photos
Site ImpressionIn 1998, Famous porcelain artist Li Jianshen founded Sanbao as an artists’ colony, designing the site as a “Living Tradition” that evoked the lifeway of a Chinese scholar and provided a comfortable work environment for contemporary artists. After that, more and more artists have been gathering there and formed an artists' village as an emerging lifestyle. A village that had fallen into disrepair was once again brought to life.

The Porcelain Production and Transportation Map clearly depicts the whole process of making and trading porcelain in the Qing Dynasty. From mining the ore to training the clay, then throwing and firing into the kiln. I use them as part of the collection to learn and analyze their spatial needs while understanding the pottery-making process and trying to understand the relationship between the material, labour and space in a community centring on porcelain production.

The raw material of the porcelain clay is the key to the characteristics and quality of the porcelain. The kaolin clay produced in Jingdezhen has been renowned for its high whiteness and good plasticity since ancient times. Allows for the production of extremely light and translucent porcelain with a thickness of less than one millimetre. To better understand the properties of the material, I experimented with different clays and techniques. How to use porcelain as a dominant architectural material to create a light space achieving the thinness and translucency of the material will be one of the targets to explore in my project.

concept model
Porcelain Model-B
porcelain model
Porcelain Model-A
porcelain model
Porcelain Model-B
porcelain model
Porcelain Model-B
process model
Material Experiment


Porcelain Model


300mm X 300mm

In this project, the architecture of openness means sharing. Sharing offices, sharing kitchens, sharing living, etc. The conventional architectural design that over-relies on walls to define function will be questioned. The study of shared and open spaces will blur the boundaries and break down the limitations imposed by functionalism, in order to create a more flexible and harmonious architectural language, a boundless architecture, which has no separation and distinction between walls and space, building and site, bodies and environment, earth and sky. An architecture of openness that exists as a single continuum of everything, everyone and everywhere.

As early as the end of the Warring States period, Confucius depicted in the Liyun a society in which no one picks up and pockets anything lost on the road and no house was closed at night. The whole community is built on absolute trust and care for each other. Sharing resources, sharing labour, sharing love, etc. When you look at the space painted in Wang Zhicheng's Pottery Scroll, you will see that in the Qing dynasty almost the entire process of pottery-making took place in an open or semi-open space, and there is not a single closed door in the scene. Man, architecture and nature co-exist in harmony.

conceptual plan
Conceptual Plan of Openness
pottery scroll
Pottery Scroll, Wang Zhicheng

For Jingdezhen, handmade pottery is no longer just about producing products, but about producing values and culture. It has gone from being a place of mass porcelain production to an art district on an urban scale. The production site produces products, but the art district is producing a human landscape and a way of life. Take Sanbao Village as the experimental site, and the young artists ‘Jing Drifter’ as the target client, porcelain as the dominant architectural material, telling a story about how they collectively living and working in one single building where the entire universe is encompassed, like the Aleph in Borges’ story. The richness of meaning, ambiguity and generosity of openness will be fully explored in the proposed new form of life.

gf plan
Ground Floor Plan - Working & Sharing
section AA'
Section AA'
section bb'
Section BB'
Perspective View-01
First Floor Plan - Living
Perspective View-02
Perspective View-03
Bird View
Modular Construction