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TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

China Architecture News - Sep 27, 2023 - 16:50   1447 views

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

A concrete cafe is laying down on a cliff to frame the mesmerizing views towards the sea in Weihai, China, which becomes an extension of landform on the site.

Named Cliff Café and Tower House, the 581-square-metre project comprises a concrete-shear wall cafe and a towerhouse - a vertical volume pointing to the sky.

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Mei Kejia

Designed by Beijing-based architecture firm TAO - Trace Architecture Office, the studio paid attention to the form of the land and emphasized horizontality and verticality to exposure with the wilderness of the context.

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Sun Xiangzhou

The project is located in Jiming Island that stands alone in the middle of the sea, and is noted for the cliff, rocks and sea horizon, which create a sense of distance from the city.

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Sun Xiangzhou

The cafe is located on the edge of a cliff, facing the vast sea in the north as if it is the end of the land. With craggy mountains and chilly sea, the concrete building, perched on the natural landscape, emerges as a massive and giant rocky volume. 

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Sun Xiangzhou

"One end of the building is embedded into the rocky mountain, where the roof becomes an extension of the landform, pointing to the sea horizon," said TAO.

"In contrast, the other end protrudes from the edge of the cliff as if it is about to break away from the mountain and extend into the sea, creating a tension between artificiality and the nature."

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Mei Kejia

When visitors down the steps into the building, they enter the interior of the mountain. Visitors experience the heavy concrete walls inside, while one will meet the sea again at the edge of the cantilevered end, having a feeling of floating on the sea. 

TAO opened on the ground of the cantilevered part of the building to give people a direct sense of the cliff’s height. "A space is designed to offer spectacular views of the sea at the rear of the building, which can only be reached by passing through a dim tunnel," the studio added.

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Mei Kejia

Behind the door, the studio also designed a meditation space with skylight, providing a haven of tranquility in the mountain.

While the café is a horizontal volume pointing to the skyline, the tower house is a vertical volume looking into the sky. The tower house has a plan layout of 4.5 meter by 4.5 meter, and appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of the sea, gaining energy. 

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Sun Xiangzhou

The tower house offers living spaces such as living room, study room, bedroom and bathroom, which are normally spread in horizontal direction, are arranged vertically from bottom to top. 

"Each level has a viewing window with a different height, angle and proportion to experience the view, bringing people to various perspectives and dimensions of the sea," the studio explained.

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Cafe interior. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

According to the architects, "horizontality and verticality, ascending and descending, insertion and cantilever" are the main features that characterize this project. 

The building connects with the earth and sky through the basic gestures of architecture, bringing people back to the nature.

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Cafe interior. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Corridor. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Sea-viewing space. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Meditation space. Image © Mei Kejia

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Meditation space. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Mei Kejia

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Tower House. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Mei Kejia

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Mei Kejia

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Mei Kejia

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Mei Kejia

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Living room. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

View to the courtyard. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Tearoom. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Staircase. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Staircase. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

View to the sea from Bedroom. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Tower house. Image © Mei Kejia

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Bathroom. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Bathroom. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Tower House. Image © Sun Xiangzhou

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Masterplan

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Cafe plan

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Cafe plans

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Roof plan

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Cafe section

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Axonometric drawing

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Tower House plans

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Tower House plans and sections

TAO built concrete cafe on a cliff as an extension of the land in China

Tower House section

TAO - Trace Architecture Office, one of the most active and influential architectural firms in China's contemporary architecture field. Beijing-based office TAO was founded by architect Hua Li In 2009.

Project facts

Project name: Cliff Café and Tower House 

Client: Shandong Wan Heng Real Estate Investment Co. Ltd 

Location: Rongcheng, Shandong, China 

Principal architect: Hua Li / TAO - Trace Architecture Office

Design team: Hua Li, Liu Peiyi, Zhang Yiling, Liu Qiubing, Cheng Xiangju, Wang Langhuan, Wei Nan

Structural engineer: MA Zhigang

MEP engineer: LV Jianjun and Kcalin design group 

Floor area: 581m2

Design: 2017-2018

Construction: 2018-2022

Top image in the article © Mei Kejia.

All images © Mei Kejia, Sun Xiangzhou. 

All drawings © TAO - Trace Architecture Office.

> via TAO - Trace Architecture Office

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