Zen & Tea Chamber

August 10, 2016 2016年8月10日

Ding Hui Yuan, a former factory space in Beijing, has been reconstructed and transformed into a traditional Zen & Tea Chamber. Its soft, subtle design is a successful preservation of Zen Buddhist notions of beauty: something that is simple, imperfect and transient. In pursuing this philosophy, architect He Wei has rejected ostentation for minimalist materials, converting the space into a fresh, peaceful environment.


The designs of He Wei present a modern take on ancient Eastern architecture. Reminiscent of Chinese private gardens, famous for their framed glimpses of scenery, the renovated space now encourages a piece-by-piece appreciation of natural beauty. Slatted wooden panels alleviate the divide between inside and out, allowing natural light to flow into the interior whilst offering a different perspective at every step.

何崴的设计让传统的东方建筑焕发出一种现代风貌。修葺一新的空间步步成景,与自然之美相融合,让人想起框景成诗等中国私家园林的精粹。木质的格栅面设计弱化了内外界线的泾渭分明,穿透格栅而来的自然光影配合不同的视角,颇具 移步换景之妙。

The paneled façade of the building is cut with an elegant, circular opening. By framing a lone-standing tree, this circular window becomes submerged in the summer and then is left bare in the winter – with the exception of a few dark branches. The shadow play in the inner passage is therefore always changing, representing Zen philosophy’s fascination with the transient nature of things, and the belief that the world is locked into a constant cycle of life and death.


The core of Ding Hui Yuan’s design lay in restructuring its circulation. A long, winding entry path has replaced the previously direct staircase, encouraging a slow-paced entry into the Zen Chamber. Once inside, luminous walls provide warm, yellow lighting. The building’s interior is fit for meditation, bland in color and smooth in texture. A large calligraphic scroll deigns the Tearoom’s wall in traditional Zen style, while simple mats are laid down on the floor. Courtyard gardens were traditionally considered part of the tearoom, and therefore it has been well maintained in its natural state – left for visitors to enjoy at different times and from different perspectives.

定慧圆的设计核心就在于将空间循环重组。蜿蜒延伸的入口长廊代替了之前平铺直叙的楼梯间, 希望以此让人们放缓脚步内心安然地进入禅室。来到室内,明亮的墙壁搭配着暖意十足的浅黄灯光,室内温和的色调和舒适的质感都很适合静心冥想。茶室的一面墙上挂有一幅巨大且禅意十足的书法作品,而木地板上就只是简单铺着一些垫子。外院花园是传统茶室中不可或缺的一部分,定慧圆的茶室设计中也原汁原味保留了这个要素,以便人们在不同的时间和角度欣赏此地不同的景致。

Built to be harmonious with its surroundings, like a traditional Chinese garden, He Wei’s design carefully balances the interplay between natural and artificial light to flatter the space’s irregular, anti-symmetry.



Inside the Better Lift Carpark,
Dinghui North Bridge, West Fourth Ring Road
Beijing, China



Contributor: Ruby Weatherall
Images Courtesy of Zou Bin and He Wei

供稿人: Ruby Weatherall

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