an ‘invisible’ volume reflects local heritage on top of a hill
Hidden among the natural landscape of Tangkou with its curve reflected façade, Tangkou Coffee Studio by One Take Architects marks a fusion of the Chinese the past and future of the town, reflecting its modern and optimistic future, as well as its rich cultural heritage. Marked by a prominent orange arched doorway like a ‘eternal flame in the mountains’, the minimalist coffee shop overlooks the idyllic Huangshan Mountains. The sculptural structure is composed of two delicately wide walls that meet at a point that forms a cross, reflecting the religious values of the town.
At the same time, the studio welcomes local youth of the future generation to learn coffee-making skills to support their livelihood, while paying homage to the town’s rich history, in particular, the school and hospital for nearby girls that were inaugurated in 1910 by Dr. Mabel. Pantin, pioneer of Western medicine in the region.
One Take Architects completes Tangkou Coffee Studio | all images courtesy of the author
one take architects embeds a symbolic cross
The team en One Take Architects complete the café with an ambiguous mirrored façade that blends discreetly with its natural surroundings and, like a floating illusion, silently reflects the passage of time. The form is made up of two arches of French windows that slide with a delicate movement and create the illusion of thick walls that recall the colors of the interiors of the old Mothers and Children’s Hospital.
Two separate sight lines further bring together the two adjacent façades which, together with the horizontal drainage elements, reflect a complete Latin cross emerging from the mirror extensions. From certain perspectives, the hidden cross seems to echo the red cross that crowns the church down the hill. At night, the result is a floating Latin cross of light, celebrating the faith embedded in the area and introducing a new luminous monument in the mountains for villagers to see from afar.
Inside the Tangkou Coffee Studio, the architects restored the structure’s previous wooden interiors with refreshed finishes. Facing the open view of the mountains, the central semicircular bar serves as a workspace to select and roast the coffee beans and prepare the coffee.
wide mirrored facades hide the structure in the middle of the landscape
reflection of cultural heritage
The cafeteria is located near the Shuhua Girls’ School and the Tangkou Hospital for Women and Children, which was built in 1910 by Dr. Mabel Pantin, a British Church physician who also pioneered Western medicine in Tangkou. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the complex was requisitioned as a military site. Since then, although the buildings have lain dormant for many years, they have been preserved due to their cultural heritage and vital importance to the collective memory of the Tangkou area.
Attracted by the city’s rich culture, the owner of Tangkou Coffee Studio decided to move to the city and began a restoration of the complex next to the new Mabel Pantin Art Gallery. One Take Architects revitalized the existing structure, which now functions as a cultural café studio with the neighboring town of Longtan.
the façade ends with a subtle cross, alluding to the religious values of the town