Completed in 2015 by Chinese Architecture firm ARCHSTUDIO, this tea house located in Beijing’s traditional Hutong district was a delicate and selective renovation project that had to factor in the building’s age, as well as its financial and historical value.
Tea House in Hutong Technical Information
- Architects: ARCHSTUDIO
- Location: Hutong, Beijing, China
- Material: Wood
- Type: Retail
- Area: 450 m2
- Project Year: 2014 – 2015
- Photographs: © Wang Ning
There is a great temperament contrast between the light, transparent and pure white gallery and the heavy, aged and dark old buildings, which makes the new-built part more fresh and the original buildings older, creating a communication between new and old.
– ARCHSTUDIO Architects
Tea House Photographs
Text by the Architects
The project design started by analyzing the old building’s previous data. From the wood structure and the size of the grey bricks, one could tell that the relatively old north wing predates the Qing Dynasty. From the already decaying wood structure on the east and west houses, Arch Studio deduces that the houses ought to be remodeled from the 70s and 80s. Additionally, judging by the wood structure on the building’s south side, one could not deny the fact that it needed repair.
The repair design was selective because it had to factor in the building’s age and its financial and historical value. Repair in the room in the north wing was light, changing only the parts with serious damage by replacing bricks. Repair in the north room was controlled to ensure it doesn’t compromise the room’s historical appearance. Repair in the south wing was aimed to give the room a basic style through a partial renovation of the roof and wall. After the East and West wing had been demolished, they were rebuilt into a wood structure with a pitched roof.
The new environment demands comfort requirements that the previous architecture could not sustain. To be temperature resistant as required, the building needed to be closed. Consequently, Arch Studio has streamlined the visualized structure of the building with a flat “curvy corridor” that creates a smooth transition from the past to the present.
In Chinese traditional buildings, a gallery is a space form with one-half outside and the other half inside. It is winding and changeable, scatters randomly, and adds great pleasure for visitors. The curvy gallery in this project extended from the outside to the inside of the old buildings like tree branches blurs the boundaries between the courtyards and houses and changes the dull and narrow impression of the courtyards. There is a great temperament contrast between the light, transparent and pure white gallery and the heavy, aged, and dark old buildings, making the new-built part fresher and the original buildings older, creating communication between new and old.
The curvy gallery divided 3 scattered curvy courtyards in the original courtyard, making each tea room have its exterior scenery and transitioning between public and private. The curvy gallery’s glass curtain walls are like screens floating above the ground, reflecting the bamboo landscape and old buildings to the tea room, creating mixed images of new and old. The curvy gallery also acted like the old buildings’ structure; the steel beam-column of the gallery replaced part of the decayed wood beam-column of the original buildings, making the new and old grow together.
The old city is not only historically rich but also has a complex reality. While historical value only sustains the city’s value by income through exploration, the unlimited usage of the facility transforms the city into an art pattern. The transformation leaves the residents of the old city responsible for maintaining the balance between historical and art values. The richness of the environments solemnly depends on how flexible the residents can balance the two values. The new life and format can be seen as a catalyst to use history to enhance the usage of the facility.
Tea House Plans
Tea House Image Gallery
ARCHSTUDIO devotes itself to using multi-perspective and rational means to intervene in developing the contemporary urban living environment, finding the right balance between the connections of reality and nature, history, and culture, creating a spatial environment that is full of the spirit of times and humanistic quality.
Other works from ARCHSTUDIO