Restaurant @ Yuanxiang Lake

Courtesy of Atelier Z+

Architects: Atelier Z+
Location: Jia ding, Shanghai, China
Architects: Zhang Bin, Zhou Wei
Design Team: Li Qin, Jin Yanlin, Wang Jiaqi, Li Yin
Area: 500 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Atelier Z+

The Restaurant by the Lake is located on a sloped site, south east if the newly built Jiading Library. Among the other built structures within the site, the restaurant is small but holds a prime lot as it is the only building along the bank of the lake, allowing for an interesting design dialogue between the water, our building and the larger buildings further behind.

Courtesy of Atelier Z+

Our concept found its beginnings from an inward point of view, and the design intent was to study the relationship between the water bank and the open water, that would then precede our design direction. This concept was unlike the norm of water bank structures that had a goal of providing a panoramic view to it’s users – we felt that such a concept was no different from one viewing the lake from the bank without an architecture intervention.

Courtesy of Atelier Z+

The massing of our building comprises of 5 rectangular concrete blocks, each of these volumes are angled off the ground differently, and it was therefore necessary to have a stepped flooring. The fenestrations that we placed are as follows : 4 main blocks have openings towards the east, 2 of which are tilted towards the sky, and two of which are tilted downwards towards the lake. The last block has a downward tilted opening facing the south, and points towards a swale. These 5 volumes are connected as a whole, but each still retain their individual spatial experience that is a result of the different compositions (angle of tile, volumetric scale and the key visual focus – the lake, the bank and the sky).­­


The journey though our building has been carefully calculated. The openings allow users to first experience a vast view of the lake, followed by a focus of the bank, the opposite bank, and lastly the far horizon. The stepped floors, tilted walls and roofs, passages of different scales create a spatial experience akin to that of traversing through a tavern. The solidity of the blocks hide a courtyard in the center of the building, an unexpected discovery to the first time visitor.

The sanitation services and staff restrooms are located in a separate, smaller block away from the main structure, while the kitchen, and public restrooms are in the basement of the building. There are 2 public entrances into the building, the main one has a porch that leads to a small hall, and then the courtyard, the secondary entrance would be from the courtyard itself.


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