In the outskirts of Jiaxing, Hangzhou (CH), the Ginkgo Tea house brings together nature and architecture, a place to relax and enjoy a cup of tea with an enchanting view to the forest.
The Tea House is located on the west shore of the Swan Lake. This natural area is covered by a Ginkgo Forest. The Ginkgo tree has been cultivated in China for over 1,500 years and has a lifespan from a few centuries to over 1000 years.
Being in such a timeless environment, the building should mainly embrace the surroundings. Ginkgos are arranged in a grid. The pavilion fits in a complementary grid to interfere as little as possible with the continuity of the forest. The building finds its way between the trees. The space flows into nature, defining private units opened to the landscape. Literally a tree-hugger.
Visitors walk from the train onto a floating wooden carpet punctured by trees. Once in the pavilion, the cozy rooms in between trees host the tea house. The project is made out many small and distinctive atmospheres, all of them merging together in a single architecture. Every place and every point of view is unique. Three different levels offer three different viewpoints to the ginkgos and to the forest. The pavilion becomes more playful as you go up. Slabs fold up to create sitting corners to contemplate the ginkgos. A slide goes down from the 2nd floor and only the ones who manage to climb up the net will get the best views. Kids take over.
Materiality is a key element. Wooden structures integrate themselves in the sequence of the forest. Glass panes dissolve the façade, allowing sights across the pavilion. The construction refers to the traditional Chinese wooden joinery, an overlaying of bidirectional beams that adds refinement to the space. Perimeter beams are doubled in order to experience the full section of the structure.
All together, the forest prevails as the main character. The pavilion remains as an inconspicuous piece of architecture in between the ginkgos.