Haiyan Nanbeihu Scenic Zone Investment Development Co., Ltd.
Xu Xiaomeng, Hannah Wang
Zhejiang Lixin Construction Group Co., Ltd.
Zhejiang Hengxin Design Group Co., Ltd.
Coffee Shop, Renovation
The project is located in front of a hill, at a distance of a hundred meters from the lake shore. Two houses dating from the 1930s with small courtyards (aka "sky well") were to be connected and transformed into a teahouse and also a rest space for tourists.
The operator of the property has not been decided until now. The timber-frame structures still remain intact except for the roof of one small volume.
To preserve local memories, we decided to keep the old houses and touch them as gently as possible.
At the same time, we wanted to create an unprecedented experience with the juxtaposition of tradition and contemporariness.
The scenic area was famous as a great example of traditional Chinese literati aesthetics. In traditional Chinese landscape paintings, corridors and bridges often became the focal points.
They were not only passageways but also resting places.
The landscape hand-scroll paintings are especially famous for their extreme horizontal length, which are not meant to be seen at one glance but should be read progressively as the viewers unfold the scroll.
The act generates a sense of ritual. What about reading the actual landscape in such a poetic and introspective way? We connected the two old houses with a curved, elevated bridge corridor.
Starting from a small volume without a roof and stopping next to the old wall, the bridge corridor barely touches the existing houses.
Walking along the corridor, guests will experience the shifting views of the landscape, as if they are reading and unfolding a long scroll painting.
The lake side of the corridor is fully glazed while the hillside is protected by an irregular array of steel posts and PC tubes (clear and frosted), providing natural ventilation and filtering sunlight with a fascinating effect.
The irregularity of the PC tubes completely breaks the rhythm of load-bearing steel posts.
The structure design strategy did not focus on expressing the long expansion but producing a variety of supporting forms, from staircases and side-support of a gable wall to local stone and a “7”-shaped concrete structure.
The informal, non-sequential design leads to a much more casual and relaxed atmosphere.
To maximize the view of the lake, the section of the bridge corridor was designed as a single-sided cantilever.
Controlling the overall deformation to achieve structural rigidity had become the major structural issue.
The ground between the two houses had been eroded by a seasonal creek. Conveniently, we transformed it into a shallow pond.
The path and platform by the water, the stone-slab bridge, the old houses and new corridor, the bamboo, and the existing trees, form enchanting special relationships on a very limited site, evoking the charm of traditional Chinese gardens.
We preserved the pre-modern atmosphere of the old houses. The steel and glass corridor bridges both spaces and ages, creating a time-travel experience for visitors.