Atelier LAI

Roof:Nan Cafe . Taoyuan Village

© Yilong Zhao

Atelier LAI

Taoyuan Village, which is in Qimen County, Anhui Province, is a typical an-cient Huizhou village. The project is the only coffee shop in the village, located in a corner. All three sides of the site are blocked by neighbors, with only one gable facing a more spacious triangular open space.

The Opening
“T roof ” used to be a folk house, which is close to the main slate road in the village. This time, her new role is a public space for Taoyuan village tourism, and therefore, a village cafe arises at the historic moment.

The renovation of the old house still maintains the original boundary of the building, the location of the main entrance, the height of the roof and the orientation of rains falling into the floor. In a closed and introverted base, the inward space becomes the core of the design.

1.“Meiren Kao”
Meiren Kao is a unique wall system in ancient Huizhou dwellings. It is located at the junction of indoor and outdoor, and is different from ordinary doors and windows, but a place where you can put your body in. Because of the poetic posture, it is called Meiren Kao, which in Chinese depicts the delightful scene of beauties leaning upon the place. In “T roof ”, Meiren Kao is further extended from the wall system to a super-gray space with combinations of eaves, windows, chairs and stools.

In Meiren Kao’s space, outward, the eaves are supported by metal inclined columns, which are connected with the metal backrest. Inward, through the way of picking to form a resting space: “support” up the window, “pick” off the stool. Together, it is a complete wall.

2. The system of “support” and “pick”
Oblique support is a simple way of transmitting force. In the invisible vertical gravity field, the oblique structure appears free and interesting. In Chinese traditional dwellings, there is a “support and pick window” which is supported by simple oblique brace and opened horizontally. Turn up for “support” and pull knot down for “pick”. Inspired by this ancient and simple way of “pulling” and “pressing”, we explore a type of architecture with oblique support relationship in this project of “T roof ”.

3.“Supporting pillars” and “Picking beams”
In the traditional Chinese architectural system, beams and columns are the skeleton of the building, and they are important elements that affect the atmosphere and rhythm of the whole space. In the gravity transfer, the beam column uses the inclined “shuttle column” and the oblique “melon seed beam” to complete the support to the double-slope roof; in the proportion relation, the beam column extends to use the “fat beam thin column” of the ancient Huizhou folk house. Among them, two “shuttle columns” rise from the first floor, through the second floor, supporting the roof. As a result, the space on the first and second floors has a powerful and transparent relationship. “Supporting pillars” and “picking beams” are the presentation of “big wooden work” with oblique brace and fastening.

The double-slope top supported by the “melon seed beam” is connected by a slender metal, with sky light sprinkling through the narrow gap. The angle of the solidified inclined column and the changing angle of light in time form a kind of time poetry which is both constant and instantaneous.



4.“The support ladder”
“The support ladder” is part of the inclined column system. As the length of the column increases, the inclined column changes from thin to thick and is linked from top to bottom by slender wires. The staircase is completely separated from the ground and floor, strengthening the mysterious sense of “detachment” of the structure. “The support ladder” is another kind of “body” presentation of oblique brace and fastening.

5.“Supporting mesa” and “Picking railing”
The Mesa used to place objects is spent from the wall in the way of oblique brace, and the semi-transparent triangular plexiglass is assembled into a platform. The railing at the height of the second floor is also pulled together in an inclined posture. The abutment and the column are diagonally braced and linked to the presentation of the “small wood work”.

We used modern glued wood technology in “T roof” , and the strength and durability of wood are better than logs.

Stronger metal components are used to replace the traditional mortise and tenon at the junction. The separation of beam and column, column and foundation makes the wooden structure more capable and clear.