blending with gulao’s man-made fish ponds 

 

 

around gulao water town’s man-made ponds and intertwining landforms, gulao tea alcove by aether architects marks its organic stance. built as a public building for afternoon gatherings, the grid-shaped structure blends in with the surroundings, while minimizing the built footprint as much as possible. the chinese design further embellishes the graphic landscape without losing the sense of intimacy between people and nature. 

gulao tea alcove 1
gulao tea alcove amongst the water and landforms of gulao water town, china
all images courtesy of aether architects

 

 

the fluidity of the tea alcove grid

 

 

raised above the ground and through the grass, gulao tea alcove by aether architects frames the blue skies, houses and serene water surfaces of sanxingtang village. conceptually, the façade-less design opens up the views with a structural modulus. with multiples of about 1 meter, the basic scale respects the one of public facilities such as village paths, water bridges or platforms. essentially, by following such a standardized grid, a free-flowing volume creates a fluidity of movement for people and nature. 

 

 

with the hollow floor and reflective ceiling, an intimacy between interior and exterior unravels. the multi-layered scenery is further superimposed in the vertical dimension, as the timber columns divide the raised platform into contemporary  areas of interaction and dialogue. as the inflatable cushions fill in the empty squares, a comfortable, afternoon tea experience is at everyone’s feet. 

gulao tea alcove 2

the structural grid follows a modulus of 1mx1m, such as the one used for water bridges and village paths gulao tea alcove 4

the hollow floor is filled with the inflatable cushions gulao tea alcove 8

ergonomic chairs complete the seating arrangement ideal for tea sessions

gulao tea alcove 10

the reflective ceiling creates an intimate connection between structure and nature

 

 

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timber oasis gulao tea alcove emerges from the fish ponds of china
 
timber oasis gulao tea alcove emerges from the fish ponds of china
 
timber oasis gulao tea alcove emerges from the fish ponds of china
 
timber oasis gulao tea alcove emerges from the fish ponds of china
 
timber oasis gulao tea alcove emerges from the fish ponds of china
 

project info:

 

name: gulao tea alcove
designer: zelin huang

architects: aether architects 

completion year: 2021

built area: 180sqm

location: sanxingtang village, gulao water town, heshan city, guangdong province, china lead

 

 

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.

 

edited by: eirini ilia | designboom