Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse

Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse in Yangzhou, China, by HWCD, 2012

The following text and images are courtesy HWCD.

Located in the ShiQiao garden in Yangzhou, a city to the northwest of Shanghai, there is a floating Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse designed by Chinese architect Sun Wei, partner of HWCD. As an international design practice, with offices in London and Barcelona, HWCD has been developing various projects, specializing in boutique hotels, residential, and mixed-use projects. Their projects emphasize the existing "worldwide interconnectedness" in the architecture and design spheres by bringing together a traditional Asian aesthetic and a modern design language.

The Bamboo Courtyard is an example of HWCD's design philosophy, embracing the traditional Chinese garden fundamentals while blending into the natural environment. The bamboo is arranged vertically and horizontally to produce "depth" and visual effects when walking around. Tall rows of bamboo sticks create corridors along the outdoor walkway and are organized in asymmetric fashion on the lake.

Traditionally, Yangzhou courtyards are formed with inward-facing pavilions, creating an internal landscape space. Drawing inspiration from this, the bamboo courtyard was designed from a basic square footprint, fragmented into small spaces to create an internal landscape area. Each of the spaces has views into the surrounding lake, allowing a panoramic view of the area.

From the exterior, the bamboo courtyard is a cubic form with a variation of solids and voids. The strong verticality becomes more apparent at night when the teahouse lights up to illuminate the surroundings. The simple form illustrates the congruent blending of architecture with nature. Moreover, the natural materials such as bamboo and bricks provide sustainable sensibilities. The pocket of voids improves natural ventilation within the bamboo courtyard, while the thick brick wall retains heat in winter, reducing the dependency of mechanical heating and cooling system.

Tea is one of China’s most precious culture heritages and has remained popular throughout thousands of years. It requires an unassuming setting in order to understand its lengthy process. The bamboo courtyard provides the adequate setting to a tea experience, emphasizing the underlying importance of design and architecture.