CHA talk Tea House, also known as Sihan Tea House, is AIR Architects’ second landing project in Dajing Lane, (see more information on our first project: Random Art Space / AIR architects) a Southern Song Dynasty ancient architectural community in Hangzhou, with the aim of creating a natural and relaxing tea drinking experience through architectural and interior renovations. The client is an experienced tea culture inheritor and tea ceremony practitioner in Hangzhou, and they had one word for the design – ‘authenticity’.
Nothing exists in isolation, and neither does architecture. Elaborative attention has been paid to the harmony between the tea room and its surroundings. The colors, the materials, the forms are all derived from the surroundings. The new life after the renovation still belongs to the land and participates in the public life of the environment.
▼位于老街的茶舍，tea house in historical street ©陈灏
▼概念图，concept drawing ©AIR Architects
The form of the façade has been kept as simple as possible, but a great deal of effort has gone into the choice of light-transmitting materials. Lustre, softness, light transmission, formability, weather resistance, and many other criteria were used to select the most suitable material for the project. The main purpose of the light-transmitting curtain wall was to collect light and release it gently into the interior of the tea room. This is done in such a way that the light enters the room in a constant state, even in the middle of a summer afternoon or at dusk when it is raining, and coheres on the screen of the façade first, casting a timeless layer of light and shadow onto the materials and surfaces of the room. Smooth, glossy, coarse, bright, delicate, oily, antique – these are the rich textures that are released on indoor objects, and this is what we understand to be ‘authenticity’, as the way things are.
The translucent material appears pure white in bright light, which, together with the dark grey of the roofs, melts away and disappears in the mass of white-walled buildings. At dusk, the warm interior light gradually overflows, the white becomes transparent and the fragrance of tea rises, adding a wisp of ebullience to the lane.
▼透光材质，light-transmitting materials ©陈灏
The transparent curved window glass straightforward displays the contents of the interior while reflecting the richness of the street environment, including the observer himself in the scene. The concrete deck is designed as a series of outdoor seating areas, providing a place for community residents and visitors to sit and relax, and with the shade of the trees on the side, to interact with the building. The details and expressions of the tea room have been sculpted to bring something new to the neighborhood and to take on a public function.
transparent window displays the interior and reflects the street
concrete deck is designed as a series of outdoor seating areas
The main body of the project is a mixed wood and concrete structure, divided into two floors. On the ground floor is the Retail of the tea parlor. The second floor consists of two private tea rooms, the larger of which is used for tea parties, while the smaller one is for internal use only, providing an exclusive space for introspection and ceremony practice.
▼入口空间，entrance space ©陈灏
▼展示与售卖空间，display and retail space ©陈灏
▼开放阶梯通往二层，open staircase leading to 2F ©陈灏
▼从阶梯望向洗手间，view from staircase to restroom ©陈灏
▼私人茶室，two private tea rooms ©陈灏
▼大茶室用作茶会和小型集会，larger tea room is used for tea parties ©陈灏
▼从大茶室望向小茶室，view from larger tea room to smaller tea room ©陈灏
▼两间茶室互通，two tea room are connected ©陈灏
The choice of materials for the interior is based on low-contrast, low-saturated virgin materials, which is also a response to ‘authenticity’. Plain colors and modest textures soften the self and at the same time act as a mirror reflecting the observer’s state of mind.
▼轴测分解，exploded axonometric ©AIR Architects
▼一层平面，1st plan ©AIR Architects
▼一层平面，2nd plan ©AIR Architects
▼立面，front elevation ©AIR Architects
▼北剖面，north section ©AIR Architects
▼西剖面，west section ©AIR Architects
Project name: CHA talk Tea House
Design: AIR Architects
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Design year & Completion Year: 2020
Leader designer & Team: Jie Su, Xin Liu
Project location: Hangzhou, China
Gross Built Area: 100㎡
Photo credits: Chenhao
Clients: Zha Xiao Wen Tea House
Brands: Jin Shan Marble, Uhjoh Construction