The Qianfoya Cliff Inscriptions in Guangyuan, Sichuan Province date back about 1700 years – but unfortunately, they’ve been damaged over the years by high winds and rain. To protect the beloved historic site from further erosion, the National Administration of Cultural Heritage recently constructed a protective shelter with a breathable tile-curtain facade directly onto the cliffside.
Although the objective of the shelter was to protect the ancient inscriptions, the museum sought a practical solution that would offer optimal resilience without taking away from the natural beauty surrounding the caves. The small black shelter is designed to blend into the rocky cliffs.
To blend the hut into the cliff with minimal interference, a horizontal platform was rooted into the landscape through a cantilever system supported by deep manual piles. Traditional grey tiles cover the walls and the roof, blending into the cliff and the natural environment. Over time, moss will begin to cover the structure, further integrating the building into its setting.
The shelter protects the inscriptions from rain and strong winds with a semi-transparent fabric. The breathable envelope provides shade to reduce the exposure to direct sunlight and maintains the cliff’s natural temperature and humidity. Openings on the west facade of the structure enable full air ventilation throughout the interior, which helps to reduce moisture and humidity that could have occurred with a more conventional shelter design. A multimedia box inside gives visitors an overview of the historic nature of the cliff inscriptions.