cutscapearchitecture inserts red-wall teahouse into the forbidden city in beijing
cutscapearchitecture inserts red-wall teahouse into the forbidden city in beijing cutscapearchitecture inserts red-wall teahouse into the forbidden city in beijing
apr 29, 2014

cutscapearchitecture inserts red-wall teahouse into the forbidden city in beijing

cutscapearchitecture inserts red-wall teahouse into the forbidden city in beijing
images © yi wang, su chen, hetian zhang
all images courtesy of cutscapearchitecture




located in the forbidden city in beijing, the ‘red-wall teahouse’ by chinese studio cutscapearchitecture has been formed by a series of fractal, freestanding structures. the site previously served as a royal memorial temple for ancestors and was surrounded by the palace wall, a symbol of social class division in old china. the renovation took place right in the break of this wall, transforming two discarded warehouses – one attached and the other set three meters back.


an open garden was created by peeling back one of the existing roofs to introduce a number of courtyard spaces between the old and new structures. the ‘red-wall teahouse’ behaves as a threshold between the sublime royal garden of the palace and the regularity of daily life in the hutongs, offering an architectural gesture that is constantly readjusting and adapting.


open courtyard spaces were created between the old and new structures



the teahouse consists of seven unique rooms that break off from one another in a type of cell division. an interplay between old and new, traditional and modern, and open and closed is created as visitors enter through existing doorways and window openings in the brick wall. the tea ceremony itself functions as the site’s main activity, however there are also areas provided for social events such as art exhibitions and  festival ceremonies.

view of the middle courtyard



brushed stainless steel sheets and glass panels are placed in different angles to the red palace wall, reflecting its raw conditions back into the courtyard. the interior of the tearooms are finished differently with bamboo sheets, white marble, copper and acrylic tubes. each room adapting a unique character and dissolving the architecture into smaller pieces.

the teahouse forms a threshold between the hutongs and the forbidden city


view of the north teahouse interior


a variety of rooms are inserted into the structures


view of the cloud tearoom and bar


the bamboo tearoom


site plan


roof plan


floor plan





project info:


project name: the forbidden city red-wall teahouse
location: the ancestral temple, the forbidden city, beijing, china
year: 2012-2014
completion date: 2014
architect: hong zhang, hetian zhang
design team: cheng zhang, hongbin pan, cheng lian, ziyue liu, penghao an, jihua sun, jie jing, xiaowei han
floor area: 280m2
photography: yi wang, su chen, hetian zhang



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,379 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample