Wood Buddha Statue Museum by Archstudio

The Wood Buddha Statue Museum is located at Ji Xin Monastery in Zushan Scenic Area of Qinghuang dao City. With a history dating back to the Song dynasty (960-1279), the temple nestles half way up the mountain, overlooking the city and Bohai Sea like a hermit. As a major tourist spot of Zushan Scenic Area, the existing temple was rebuilt on its original site in 2002.

Facing eastwards, the temple complex unfolds across the mountain terrain, forming a spatial layout in three courtyards. The museum is located at the back courtyard. As visitors navigate through a corridor of the temple’s main hall, they will see three halls standing on top of a high platform: the Guanxin Hall, the Hall of Medicine Buddha and the Hall of Amitabha Buddha, which are venues for the wood Buddha statue museum.

The camphor wood Buddha statues are major exhibits of the museum. They hold an intriguing origin story as they were originally commissioned from Dongyang, Zhejiang Province by a Japanese collector. Over the course of several decades, these statues changed hands among different owners in Japan until the client decided to buy them back to China. After careful consideration, he decided to find them a new home at Ji Xin Monastery.

Through space renovation, the museum has provided extra functions to the traditional temple. It has become a sacred space for prayer and inner reflection, a place to appreciate the artistry of sculpture, a sanctuary for meditation, and a venue to immerse oneself in the wisdom and philosophy of Chinese culture. The transformed space provides visitors with a diverse and enriching journey during their temple visit.

Photo © Jin Weiqin

A terrace outside a hall
The new design encompasses enhancement of the landscape of the front area, on the premise of preserving the temple’s central axis and the Guanyin statue. To enhance the ceremonial experience before entering the museum, the front area landscape has been conceptualized as a “cloud terrace”.

A pagoda inside a hall
The main hall for centrally exhibiting the Buddha statues is a Song-style building with a frame structure. Two ring corridors situated on different levels, along with a stairway, enclose an area with a high ceiling of nearly 20 meters in the center of the hall.

Photo © Wang Tonghui

The design borrows from the architectural prototype of “pagoda”, creating a hollow Buddha pagoda in the center of the hall as the main carrier for a vertical exhibition of wood Buddha statues. The original stairway has been modified to guide visitors to the top floor.

At the highest point of the pagoda, there is a circular platform with an 11-meter-high ceiling, allowing visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of the distant mountains. The interior ambient lighting is carefully tailored to the specific environment.

Photo © Jin Weiqin

Artificial lighting can better create a sense of tranquility only in an environment with limited natural light. To control the amount of natural light entering the building, a translucent film with a transmittance of 9% is applied to the exterior glass surfaces.

The pagoda’s structural beauty is accentuated through the use of concealed lighting, which illuminates the building’s form. At the dome of the pagoda, three layers of lighting troughs are installed, with each layer gradually transitioning to a lighter color. This arrangement creates an upward transition of lighting effect. Additionally, the walls are constructed with sound-absorbing panels, optimizing the lighting and audio conditions of the lecture hall, while further augmenting the museum’s functionality and spiritual essence.

Photo © Jin Weiqin

Halls attached to the museum
The side halls in the museum are designated as Sutra Halls, playing a crucial role in the museum’s public education activities. The design capitalizes on the height of these halls, approximately 11 meters, by installing luminous metal boards adorned with inscribed sutras that hang around the hall and reach close to the ceiling. The use of mirror-surfaced materials creates an elevated ambience within the space, and imbues it with an otherworldly, futuristic sense of art.

Drawing inspiration from religious symbols like Mandala and Bodobudur, the design interprets the spiritual essence of Buddha culture and art in a contemporary and innovative way. It aims to provide visitors with an immersive meditative experience, inviting them to explore their inner world while visiting around the space. Source by Archstudio.

Photo © Wang Ning

Location: Ji Xin Monastery, Zushan Scenic Area, Qinghuangdao, China

Architect: Archstudio

Chief designer: Han Wenqiang

Designer: Wang Tonghui

Interior design: Wang Tonghui, Cao Chong, Wei Jie, Xu Ye (On-site designer)

Landscape design: Wang Tonghui, Cao Chong, Han Fei

Lighting consulting: Dong Tianhua

Structural consulting: Zhang Yong

MEP consulting: Jiang Mao, Zheng Baowei

Signage design: Wang Tonghui, Liu Xuan

Sculpture consulting: Qin Huaqin

Construction: China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., Ltd

Client: Zushan Xinchao Tourism Development Co., Ltd.

Gross floor area: 1,657 sqm

Construction time: Mar. 2022

Photographs: Wang Ning, Jin Weiqin, Xiao Shiming, Courtesy of Archstudio

Photo © Jin Weiqin

Photo © Jin Weiqin

Photo © Jin Weiqin

Jin Weiqin

Photo © Wang Ning

Photo © Wang Ning

Photo © Jin Weiqin

Photo © Jin Weiqin

Photo © Wang Ning

Photo © Jin Weiqin

Ground Floor Plan


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