Tea house number two, an interesting project by Arch Studio. They were asked to redevelop the group of grey brick buildings in eastern Beijing, believed to predate the Qing Dynasty that ruled Imperial China between 1644 and 1912. The studio began by repairing the old brickwork, and removing and replacing a pair of decaying timber structures built in the 1970s.
Curving glass walls enclose bamboo-planted courtyards in this tea house, which occupies a formerly derelict building complex in one Beijing's ancient neighbourhoods. The L-shaped block forms part of a warren of narrow streets and traditional courtyard housing known as a hutong. Although many of these high-density neighbourhoods have been destroyed, some are being redeveloped to create contemporary housing, businesses and installations. A pivoting glass door set in a narrow alley leads from the street into the tea house.
The gallery of the traditional architecture takes a half inside half outside form, significantly increasing the beauty of the garden. Original brickwork and timber are left exposed across the interior to contrast patches of new white-painted brick and glass, intended to create "a mutual dialogue between the past and future".
Curving courtyards cut into the body of the complex are filled with bamboo shoots and enclosed with glass panels to make the building weather-tight. A series of private tea rooms are set around the edge of the courtyards and have slatted timber doors that provide outdoor access. The traditional pitched and tiled roofs of surrounding buildings can be seen from the open-air courtyards.
A place worth visiting.