One Take Architects’ coffee studio reflects Tangkou’s heritage

an “invisible” volume reflects the local heritage on a hill

Hidden in Tangkou’s natural landscape with its curves mirrored Façade, Tangkou Coffee Studio by One Take Architects marks a fusion of Chinese The village’s past and future – reflecting its modern, optimistic future as well as its rich cultural heritage. Characterized by a distinctive orange entrance like a ‘eternal flame in the mountains’, the minimalist café workshop overlooking the idyllic Huangshan Mountains. The sculptural structure consists of two delicately curved walls that unite to form a cross, reflecting the city’s religious values.

At the same time, the studio welcomes young locals of the future generation to learn coffee-making skills to make a living, while paying tribute to the city’s rich history – particularly the nearby girls’ school and hospital established in 1910 by Dr. Mabel Pantin, who pioneered Western medicine in the region.


One Take Architects Completes Tangkou Coffee Studio | all images courtesy of the author

one take architects embeds a symbolic cross

The team at One Take Architects completes the café with an ambiguous mirrored facade that subtly blends into the natural surroundings and quietly reflects the passage of time like a floating illusion. The shape consists of two French window arches that move in delicate movements, creating the illusion of thick walls reminiscent of the colors of the interiors of the former Maternal and Children’s Hospital.

Two separate visual axes further summarize the two adjacent facades which, together with the horizontal drainage elements, reflect a full Latin cross emerging from the mirrored surfaces. From certain perspectives, the hidden cross seems to mirror the red cross that crowns the church down the hill. At night, the result is a floating Latin cross of light that celebrates beliefs anchored in the area and introduces a new glowing monument up in the mountains for the villagers to see from afar.

Inside the Tangkou Coffee Studio, the architects restored the building’s earlier wooden interiors with refreshed finishes. Overlooking the unobstructed view of the mountains, the central semi-circular bar serves as a workspace for selecting and roasting coffee beans and brewing coffee.

One Take Architects' coffee studio reflects the landscape and heritage of Tangkou, China
curved mirror facades hide the structure amidst the landscape

reflect cultural heritage

The café is close to the Shuhua Girls’ School and the Women’s and Tangkou Children’s Hospital, founded in 1910 by Dr. Mabel Pantin, a British church doctor who also pioneered Western medicine in Tangkou. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the complex was confiscated as a military base. Since then, the buildings, although inactive for many years, have been preserved due to their cultural heritage and vital importance to the Tangkou area’s collective memory.

Attracted by the city’s rich culture, the owner of Tangkou Coffee Studio decided to move to the city and initiated a restoration of the complex alongside the new Mabel Pantin Art Gallery. One Take Architects revitalized the existing structure, which now functions as a cultural coffee studio along with the neighboring village of Longtan.

One Take Architects' coffee studio reflects the landscape and heritage of Tangkou, China
The façade culminates in a subtle cross that alludes to the city’s religious values

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