top of page
exterior new_meitu_2.jpg




Downtown, Manhattan, New York
Fall 2014
Academic, Arch 201, Pratt Institute
Professor Christian Lynch


Tea has a special status in Chinese culture. It is not a simple beverage in China but it also creates a series of culture industries that comprise tea making, teapot design, and tea ceremony. 

This project is located in Manhattan Chinatown where is always crowded and attracts visitors around the world. The programs and functions of the project aim to spread and exhibit tea culture to the New Yorker and tourists.

Starting from a relic found on the site, Kong Ming Lock is an intelligent toy that people always play it during tea time. From the lock and its joint concept, it reproduced into a system of the grid. The grid is not only applied to the façade of the building but also the interior. It can be transformed into different functions based on the needs of programs and the environments the spaces want to create.

LOCK diagram 1 [转换]-01.jpg



The lock is an intelligent toy that people always play it during tea time. The components of the lock using the Chinese traditional technique in furniture and architecture, called sun mao. It is a mortise and tenon joint. Without using nails or glue, the wood pieces can be joined together.

DOUGONG [转换]-01.jpg

As one of the most important components in Chinese architecture, Dou Gong comprises a series of repetitive pieces, not only create an aesthetic of complexity but also transmit the load from the girder to the column. It is an enlarged version of the lock by using the same Sun mao technique. 


standard grid [转换]-01.jpg


Combined with the concept of repetition, a framing system is developed from the joints. Considered the building as a mass of large framing system, the programs are the objects inserted into this mass and the circulations are cutting off from the mass.

Plan 1.jpg


Plan 2.jpg

Ground Level

Plan 3.jpg

Second Level

Plan 4.jpg
Plan 5.jpg
Plan 6.jpg

Third Level


Fourth Level


Fifth Level

section new-01.jpg


perspective section 1-01.jpg
section connections-01.jpg


When people walk through this light well, they will feel they are encased by the timber structure. It separates the spaces into inside and outside two different parts in a psychological way: the first-floor lobby and the exterior is the outside world; the upper floors are the world of tea culture. It lets the visitors forget the urban life and calm down mentally. 


When people go to the second floor, they will walk through a light well which the wood timber structure filled in. The open space inside is making the connections from the bottom of the light well to the highest place or from different places in the building. The cuttings inside create visual connections to attract people to navigate between the programs.

diagram 1 [转换]-01.jpg


The timber structure applied on façade and continues above the level of the roof to construct the parapet wall. It also creates a screen between the circulation and the plants which creates an artificial landscape. The inner layer of the framing is the potential structure for the climbing plants. The framing protects the people on the roof and also hide them when people looking from the ground level.

roof diagram [转换]-01.jpg


The timber structure not only applied on the façade but also inside the building. The timber structure transforms into the framings of the exhibition desks. In front of the desks, the framings create the spaces like alcoves so that people need to walk in to see the items on display. The spaces aim to add mystique to the exhibition and attract people’s curiosity. The framings also can be adjusted based on the sizes of the items and transformed into seats.

bottom of page