Xinzhai Coffee Manor , Yunnan

 Street view©Chen Hao

Xinzhai Coffee Manor is located in Lujiangba, Baoshan, Yunnan Province, one of the world-recognized origins of Arabica coffee. The site sits on a plateau in the middle of Bawan Village at the foot of Gaoligong Mountain, overlooking the landscape of Lujiangba Area and the Nuijiang Valley to the north. Through renovation and addition, the client envisions a multifunctional complex that houses coffee storage, processing, tasting, sale, hotel rooms, coffee museum, auditorium and other functions, to provide visitors with premium holiday experience in par with the high quality coffee and pleasant resort scenery.

Facade of the main building©Chen Hao

The site consists of two sets of courtyards, with lush trees and an abandoned cinema, a grey brick building originally built in the 80s. Most buildings on the site and in adjacent villages are made of brick. There is also a brick kiln still producing grey bricks near the site. These local features triggered the initial desire to build with bricks. Today, brickwork remains the predominant construction method in the area which makes it reasonable for adoption. Consequently, brick leads to different forms of vaults in architecture.

View to the courtyard©Chen Hao

The entry sequence is circuitous. Driving on the village road, one experience up-looking, climbing and turning before reaching the manor at the end of the main street. From the enclosures in the courtyards to the broad scenic view upon entering the main building, this complex constructs a narrative experience of compression and relief.

Expoloed axonometic diagram

The new building is connected to the old cinema through a set of corridors, forming three different courtyards: the central courtyard, the tree courtyard and the sunken courtyard. Visitors can reach functional areas through corridors from the central courtyard. Surrounded by existing trees, the buildings present themselves as the background of the courtyards connected by corridors, resembling to the layout of a monastery. The cinema, the largest mass on site, is renovated into a museum, which resembles the spiritual center as a cathedral to a monastery.

Facade of the main building©Chen Hao

The main building is located at the north side of the plateau, one-storey lower than the central courtyard. The coffee storage space is located at the bottom level, and cross vaults create a cellar-like space shrouded in heaviness and dimness. Such heavy volume simultaneously responds to the physical requirement of a constant temperature and humidity. The coffee processing area is located at the mid level and requires large space for roasting and packaging. It combines long-span steel beams and one-way brick vaults to obtain a continuous open space, while bringing in views from the courtyards and the valley. Its side corridors allow visitors to walk around and do sightseeing. On the top level, concrete frame takes over brick to achieve maximum transparency, meeting the programmatic needs of hotel rooms overlooking the valley. From the bottom to the top, there is also a gradual transition from heaviness to lightness, responding to diverse needs from storage, processing to views.

Retaining wall and main building ©Su Shengliang

Sunken courtyard © Su Shengliang

Cross vaults of coffee storage space©Chen Hao

North corridor of cross vaults ©Su shengliang

 One-way vault of coffee processing area1©Chen Hao

The building uses two types of material: brick and concrete, which is consistent with materials commonly used locally, yet presenting variations. Its spatial quality integrates the heaviness of brick construction and the lightness of concrete structure, which is resulted from a thorough consideration of material, structure and program. The design begins with a perception of the site and reflections on the material, while its core is the characteristic of place it aims to create –belonging to the earth or leading afar to horizon.

 Coffee processing area corridor ©Su Shengliang

 One-way vault of coffee processing area2©Chen Hao

Staircase leading to 3rd floor © Su Shengliang

third floor view ©Su Shengliang

first floor cafe ©Su Shengliang

First-floor café2©Chen Hao

Project title: Xinzhai Coffee Manor
Client: Baoshan Xinzhai Coffee Co. Ltd.
Location: Bawan Village, Baoshan Lujiangba, Yunnan, China
Program: cinema, conference space, museum, shop, cafe, storage, workshop, hotel room
Architect: Hua Li / TAO (Trace Architecture Office)
Design team: Hua Li, Bai Ting, Lai Erxun, Hu Mohuai, Zhang Wenzhao, Yue Yang, Zhang Hao, Liu Zhouxing, Cao Pengfei, Duan Qi, Shao Aiwen, Li Yuntao, Liu Peiyi
Structural engineer: MA Zhigang
MEP engineer: LV Jianjun
Construction: Yunnan Baoshanxia Village Architecture Engineering co.Ltd
Interior construction; steel windows/doors detailing and installation: Scenario Design
Steel windows/doors detailing: Shu Tan, Liu Suyang, Liao Peng
Construction administration leader: Shu Tan, Yang Zhiqiang, Yang Jing
Floor area: 3140 sq. m. (addition 2000 sq. m., renovation 1140 sq. m.)
Structural system: concrete & masonry structure
Materials: in-situ concrete, bricks
Design: 2014.6-2015.8
Construction: 2015.8-2018.2
Photographer: Chen Hao, Su Shengliang

Master plan

UG floor plan-legend

1st floor plan

2nd floor plan



1-25 sectional model1

1-25 sectional model2


Appreciation towards Trace Architecture Office for providing the description.