Ester Lo

Ester Lo

Ann Arbor, MI, US


The Coffee House in Gukeng


Feng-Chia University joined hands with Wang Architects & Associates in this
pro bono project, aiming at helping the development of rural area, to build a
‘book house’ for an elementary school. The school was located at Gukeng
Township in central Taiwan. Gukeng is on the hills, and abounds with coffee
trees. Teachers of that elementary school had the habit of coffee bean
roasting, and they wished that the book house could also be used for coffee
education, to broaden the students’ learning. During weekends, the space
would also hold farmers’ market, as an alternative promotion for Gukeng.


Took the children’s perspective, and contemplated on the type of space that
would interest them. ‘Tree house’ was many people’s childhoods fantasy. I
combined the tree house concept with the small class size in that elementary
school, and came up with an architecture of several small tree houses
interconnected with an outdoor platform. The entire architecture was elevated
high above ground by columns, with the ground level under the platform
serving as space for farmers’ market. Above ground, children could play on
the platform, freely pass through tree houses, and enjoy tiny secret spaces.
On coffee education, the three steps of coffee making: bean picking and
washing, bean roasting, and coffee brewing, would be hosted in three larger
tree houses respectively. If necessary, tree house doors could be opened to
connect indoor space with the platform to become a larger learning space.
The platform could also be used for tourists resting and drinking coffee when
farmers’ market was held.

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Status: Under Construction
Location: Taiwan, TW
My Role: Junior Designer from Design to Build
Additional Credits: Jerry Hsiao
Assistant Professor of Architecture at Feng Chia University.

Feng-Chia University