A teahouse framed by a delicate bamboo envelope provides the contemporary setting for the traditional ritual of the tea ceremony
Synthesising elements of traditional Chinese garden design with a contemporary sensibility, this project for a modern teahouse provides a setting for one of China’s most culturally significant rituals, the tea ceremony cultivated over centuries, it requires a neutral space in which to fully appreciate its nuances.
The teahouse is set in a park in Yangzhou, a city to the north-westof Shanghai. Its lakeside site isolates it from the distraction of the surrounding city and its fragmented form alludes to Yangzhou’s historic vernacular of courtyards surrounded by inward-facing pavilions.
The project began with a basic square footprint, which was then fragmented into smaller volumes around a central landscaped courtyard. Each fragment has carefully framed views into the surrounding lake and courtyard.
Seen from across the lake, the teahouse’s bamboo envelope eases thestructure into its bucolic surroundings
Austere volumes of grey brick are wrapped in bamboo pergolas and colonnades that simultaneously veil and add depth and complexity to the facade. The lightness and fragility of the bamboo counterpoints the mass and solidity of the brick. At night, light catches the structures, so the teahouse appears clothed in a delicately glowing mantle of bamboo.
The jury admired the scheme’s lyricism and deft handling of materials, and the way in which it wove together elements from traditional Chinese architecture and landscape to generate a new formal language.
Light striates through the delicate bamboo veil
Photographer: Courtesty of the architect