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China’s Jiming Island, nestled amidst the vast northern sea, has welcomed a stunning addition to its natural beauty – the Cliff Café and Tower House, a masterpiece brought to life by Trace Architecture Office (TAO). Perched on the island’s rocky precipice, just off the northern coast of Rongcheng, this architectural marvel seamlessly blends with the rugged cliffs and endless sea horizons, redefining the island’s solitary charm.
Comprising two distinctive elements, the project showcases TAO’s visionary approach to harmonizing harsh landscapes with minimalist concrete aesthetics. The Cliff Café, a horizontal structure, appears as if it emerges from the natural cliff, extending gracefully over the coast. In contrast, the ‘Tower House’ rises vertically above the earth, offering panoramic views of the horizon. It’s a fusion of nature and architecture that captivates the senses.
The Horizontal Cliff Café: A Poetic Encounter with Nature
TAO’s design for the Cliff Café aims to embrace the rocky cliffside, with its flattened roof mirroring the surrounding landforms. Poetically, the café’s open end projects outward from the cliff’s edge, creating an illusion of detachment from the mountain, as if it’s reaching out to the sea. This interplay between nature and structure is a defining feature of the café.
Descending the steps into the café feels like a journey into the heart of the mountain. Encased within sturdy concrete walls, visitors are gradually drawn toward the cantilevered section, where they experience the sensation of floating above the sea. The ground-level opening at the cantilevered edge offers an unfiltered view of the towering cliff. A serene space, accessed through a dimly lit tunnel, awaits at the rear, framing sweeping sea views. Beyond this threshold, a meditative oasis bathed in skylight creates a haven beneath the rugged cliff.
The Vertical Tower House: A Beacon in the Vast Sea
In stark contrast, the ‘Tower House’ stands tall and slender, resembling a lighthouse amidst the expansive sea. Its modest 4.5-meter squared floor plan may seem small in the grand scheme of the ocean, but it brims with vitality. Inside, living spaces such as living rooms, study areas, bedrooms, and bathrooms, typically sprawling horizontally, are thoughtfully stacked vertically. Each level features a unique picture window, offering diverse perspectives of the distant horizon.
The ‘Cliff Café and Tower House’ engage in a dialogue between horizontality and verticality, ascent and descent, insertion and cantilever. It’s a testament to TAO’s ambition to bridge the gap between the land and sky.
In a world where architecture meets nature in a breathtaking embrace, the Cliff Café and Tower House by Trace Architecture Office stand as a testament to human creativity and innovation, inviting all to ponder the beauty of their unique existence within the stunning landscapes of Jiming Island.
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