Xinzhai Coffee Manor

Project details
Architect: Hua Li / TAO (Trace Architecture Office)
Town: Bawan Village, Baoshan Lujiangba, Yunnan, China
Client: Baoshan Xinzhai Coffee Co. Ltd.

Xinzhai Coffee Manor is located in Lujiangba, Baoshan, Yunnan Province, one of the world-recognized origins of Arabica coffee. The site sits on a plateau in the middle of Bawan Village at the foot of Gaoligong Mountain, overlooking the landscape of Lujiangba Area and the Nuijiang Valley to the north.

Through renovation, the site has been transformed into a multifunctional complex that houses coffee storage, coffee processing, hotel rooms, a coffee museum and an auditorium.

Image credits: Chen Hao, Su Shengliang

The site consists of two sets of courtyards, with trees and an abandoned cinema, a grey brick building originally built in the 80s. Most buildings on the site and in adjacent villages are made of brick. There is also a brick kiln still producing grey bricks near the site. These local features influenced the desire to build with bricks and today the brickwork remains the predominant construction method in the area.

The new building is connected to the old cinema through a set of corridors, forming three different courtyards: the central courtyard, the tree courtyard and the sunken courtyard. Visitors can reach functional areas through corridors from the central courtyard. Surrounded by existing trees, the buildings present themselves as the background of the courtyards connected by corridors, resembling the layout of a monastery. The cinema, the largest mass on site, is renovated into a museum, which resembles a cathedral.

The main building is located at the north side of the plateau, one-storey lower than the central courtyard. The coffee storage space is located at the bottom level, and cross vaults create a cellar-like space shrouded in heaviness and dimness.

The coffee processing area is located at the mid-level and requires large space for roasting and packaging. It combines long-span steel beams and one-way brick vaults to obtain a continuous open space while bringing in views from the courtyards and the valley. On the top level, a concrete frame takes over brick to achieve maximum transparency, meeting the programmatic needs of hotel rooms overlooking the valley.

The building uses two types of material: brick and concrete, which is consistent with materials commonly used locally. Its spatial quality integrates the heaviness of brick construction and the lightness of concrete structure, which is resulted from a thorough consideration of material, structure and program.