Andrei Zerebecky and Lukasz Kos, co-founders of FOUR O NINE, botanically transformed a greenhouse structure in Beijing into an award-winning coffee shop. To align with Café 27’s sustainable philosophy, FOUR O NINE made the environmental experience their main focus of the renovation. This eco-minded consciousness led to a reduction of the structure’s carbon footprint while enhancing a garden ambiance.
The architects sought to visually convey Cafe 27's high standard for fresh, healthy and quality ingredients in their offerings through the architecture. As a result the new cafe was conceived as an inside-out garden pavilion; wherein all the elements of a garden pavilion were placed inside a passively controlled greenhouse that connects with its surroundings.
A number of elements simultaneously defined the architectural expression and interior environmental experience. A green-wall passively purifies Beijing's polluted air as it makes its way inside. A massive ceramic bar with pastry display anchors the interior seating arrangement. Combined with the terrazzo flooring, generating a thermal mass that gradually and passively heats the space in the winter. In the summer the exterior wood trellis shades the glass structure reducing undesirable heat gain, while diffusing direct sunlight to create a thermally comfortable and optically dramatic space inside.
Completing the interior, a pixilated hut-like elevation clad in Ash batons provides acoustic baffling while housing a pastry kitchen (visible through a large glass pane), the mechanical system, the public restrooms and dry storage. Finally, the interior and exterior are connected through a series pivoting doors further blurring the boundary between the indoor and outdoor experience of the café.
These ecologically sound devices not only reduced the carbon footprint of the cafe but also enhanced the experience of being in a garden-like interior. All the while the shed-like form clad in natural materials with hanging gardens provides a strong identity for the Cafe 27 flagship.
Photography by Hu YiHuai