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Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has arranged translucent plastic blocks in a brick-like formation to create new walls for a Beijing tea house overlooking the Forbidden City, changing the architectural design.
Kengo Kuma and Associates used polyethylene plastic batons to create an elaborate grid across the ceiling and walls of each room of the private member’s club, which is simply named Beijing Tea House.
The white latticework is interlaced with translucent blue polycarbonate panels – offering an alternative to the decorative wood panelling and paper screens that are typical within tea houses all over Asia.
These new walls allow light to filter gently into the building from all sides. They also rise above the tea house’s traditional tiled roof to enclose a terrace overlooking the Forbidden City – Beijing’s former imperial palace, and one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions.
There are numerous tea houses dotted around the outer walls of the UNESCO-listed palace, which was constructed in the early 15th century and occupied by imperial courts until the early 1900s, when it was converted into a museum.
Chinese studio Cutscape Architecture recently completed one to the north-east corner of the complex, inside a pair of converted brick warehouses, while Kengo Kuma’s stands at the east gate.