Location: Pingjiang Road, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province
Design: 2003.09 - 2003.11 Completion: 2004.07 Building area: 1800 ㎡
Dong’s Teahouse is located in one of the largest and best-preserved historic areas, the Pingjiang District, Suzhou. Previously, the building was a typical courtyard residential unit that belonged to a big family. After several decades of overuse and negligence, it has been degraded into a bad condition like many other houses in the Pingjiang District. The project was launched by the local government as a sample renovation project to transform the declined residential and factory blocks into restaurants and bars, with the purpose to transform the riverside street into an attractive tourist destination.
The project faced two challenges: one is to preserve the historic urban fabric, and the other is to update the decrepit dwelling to meet contemporary urban lives. According to the condition of existing buildings, the site was divided into two parts: the southern part was the traditional courtyard housing which required physical preservation. While the northern part was a small factory that needed to be demolished and rebuilt.
The new building was designed to provide a space of modern sense among the preserved buildings. A coffee bar with spiraled floors goes up every 40cm to the roof, becoming going-up indoor and outdoor terraces and allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful skyline of the riverside street. The new building is coated with a piece of the woven dark brick wall, through which visitors could have an open view of the surroundings from the interior. A solid boundary is provided by the building to define the open space along the river in daytimes, which could also act as a lantern in the evening for a specific atmosphere among the revived historic district.