Yiying Tang

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The Last Guardian

Earthware Museum

This project is located at The Hathpace, the old streets of Kashgar which lie in the southwest of Xinjiang province. The Uighur name of the Hathpace means earthware from a high cliff, which came from the tradition of earthware handicrafts from ancient times. However, the situation has changed these years. Due to the concussion of modern life, young people tend to flow into cities rather than stay in old streets region to inherit the earth ware handicrafts from their parents. This has a correlating effect on the community of The Hathpace, causing community values, traditions, and cultural identity to be lost.

The project aims at both earthware handicrafts and the recognition of earthware culture. The building is significant for different users: a production base for handicraftsmen, a community center for local residents, and an exhibition platform of earthware culture for tourists.

Considering that earthware handicrafts have a unique and complex making process which is most attractive, a new exhibition pattern is created to satisfy tourists’ expectations on both visiting and experiencing. Tourists can observe the whole making process and participate in learning at their interested parts.


Generation of The Hathpace

Approximately 2000 years ago, The Hathpace was formed by the force of nature. About 1000 years ago, ancient Uygurs began to settle down in The Hathpace. In order to resist rainstorms and floods, the residents constructed their houses on the high terrain of The Hathpace originally. About 800 years ago, An earthware craftsman found a kind of earth suitable for manufacturing earthware called "Segezi" in The Hathpace, and he opened an earthware workshop. Since then, a lot of craftsmen started their earth ware workshop in The Hathpace, and this region has blossomed. Earthware products are gradually tightly linked with Uygurs' life. Their bowls, washbasins, pots, jars, barrels and lamps, even cradles were made of earthware. As more and more people moved here, they constructed their houses on low terrain in The Hathpace and finally occupied the whole zone. Then, with the growth of population, people began to construct their houses on the cliffside. These houses have entrances on both sides of The Hathpace and the flat. After the original residents had their offspring, the space was not enough for their daily life. So they added another floor to their former houses, providing space for their sons and daughters. However, with the increasing of generation, they still faced the problem of lacking in space. So the residents there added rooms above the streets, and formed different house styles such as "street-across buildings", "half-street buildings" and "suspended buildings". And finally, it forms the urban fabric in The Hathpace now.

Site Analysis

In The Hathpace, the most common structure of Aywangs is raw soil and timber structure. Besides, there are also other mixture structures. The prevalence of the raw soil and timber structure is because of the pervasiveness of these two materials in The Hathpace. The residents there could obtain raw materials locally, without paying too much money. Also, Aywangs constructed with raw soil, bricks, and timber is good at climatic adaptability, providing a circumstance naturally warm in winter and cool in summer.

Site Analysis

There are more than 20 alleys in The Hathpace. Each of them is of different width and space, due to the casual construction of vernacular houses there. In order to resist gale, most of the alleys are T-shaped roads and dead-end roads, so tourists are easy to get lost in The Hathpace.

Handcraft Process

The earthware-making process has more than 50 procedures and fundamentally pertains to 11 steps. Handicraftsmen need to prepare not only clay but glaze as well. They have their workshops right beside their dwellings and organize each procedure in a limited space. Craftsmen transport clay from suburbs, pound clay, screen clay, mix material, and knead clay. These are preliminary works of earthware making. Then they blank and dry earthware in the air for 3 to 5 days. After that, earthware with flaws will be pound into clay again, and completed ones will be kilned and glazed. Painted earthware will be put in the sun for some days, and that's the whole process.

Analysis of the Hathpace

There are a lot of factors that influence the actualities of The Hathpace, and each of them interacts with others. Nature decides the uniqueness of The Hathpace as well as its cultural values, which should be preserved. Strategies should be taken to improve tourists’ experience in order to vitalize tourism in Kashgar.


Axon of Visit and Experience Area

Phasing Strategy



Exploded View

Structure and Materials