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studio ku kan nai celebrates the picturesque with its overgrown 'underwood teahouse'

a teahouse beneath a meadow

 

An homage to idyllic untouched nature, China-based Studio Ku Kan Nai creates a picturesque Underwood Teahouse among a seemingly wild garden in Shanghai. The built space of the teahouse is nestled among the overgrown meadows, emerging from behind the varied grasses and trees of the garden. The architecture itself presents a continuation of the greenery — with its gently sloping green roof, the half-buried space appears to emerge from beneath a meadowed hillside.

teahouse ku kan naiimages © Hai Zhu

 

 

a humble architecture integrated with the garden

 

Inside Studio Ku Kan Nai’s Underwood Teahouse, the interiors are defined by the semi-circular floor plan. The architects‘ sweeping timber walls embrace visitors and lead the eye toward the focal point of the space, a long, horizontal window which gazes toward the garden beyond. This elongated picture window captures the surroundings as a framed composition of vibrant nature, whose greenery is exaggerated by the neutral tones and pared-back materiality of the teahouse’s interiors.

 

Overall, the teahouse is embedded into the earth, so the window and tabletop inside begins at ground level, giving visitors ‘the view of a cat.’ With the roof’s oversized eaves — just 1.5 meters (nearly five feet) off the ground — the shaded, set-back window suggests the low entrance of a cave.

teahouse ku kan nai

 

 

studio ku kan nai creates wild nature in shanghai

 

Studio Ku Kan Nai emphasizes the majesty of the natural context with the humble interiors of the Underwood Teahouse. The ceiling falls from a height of 3.15 meters (10.3 feet) to 1.8 meters (nearly six feet), the lowest point defining the top of the window frame. From this low, cavernous space in front of the window, the trees appear to soar higher, reach taller, and isolate the visitor in overwhelming nature.

 

During the early hours of the morning, the interiors are cloaked in shadows to suggest a cave hidden within the forest. As the day proceeds, sunlight begins to penetrate the teahouse, gently dappling the walls with light until the sun sets.

teahouse ku kan nai
the architecture appears as a cave emerging from within the forest teahouse ku kan nai
visitors enter down a set of stairs and into the rear of the space

teahouse ku kan nai
the window is 1.1 meters (3.6 feet) high and 5.6 meters (18.4 feet) long horizontally

studio-ku-kan-nai-underwood-teahouse-shanghai-china-designboom-06a

nature appears to unfold like a painting on a scroll

teahouse ku kan naithe ceiling’s lowest point reaches just under six feet

studio-ku-kan-nai-underwood-teahouse-shanghai-china-designboom-08a

curving walls direct the gaze toward the window, the focal point of the interiors

 

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studio ku kan nai celebrates the picturesque with its overgrown ‘underwood teahouse’
 
studio ku kan nai celebrates the picturesque with its overgrown ‘underwood teahouse’
 
studio ku kan nai celebrates the picturesque with its overgrown ‘underwood teahouse’
 
studio ku kan nai celebrates the picturesque with its overgrown ‘underwood teahouse’
 
studio ku kan nai celebrates the picturesque with its overgrown ‘underwood teahouse’
 
studio ku kan nai celebrates the picturesque with its overgrown ‘underwood teahouse’
 

project info:

 

project title: Underwood Teahouse

architecture: Studio Ku Kan Nai

location: Shanghai, China

design team: Wang Shaorong, Zhang Jie, Zhu Jialei

construction: Shanghai Longqi

area: 36 square meters

completion: January 2022

photography: © Hai Zhu

ARCHITECTURE IN CHINA (1510)

ARCHITECTURE IN SHANGHAI (179)

ROOFTOP ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN (53)

TEAHOUSE ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN (30)

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