There has been an increasing number of hipster coffee shops in Taiwan in recent years, with various specialty cafes popping up in every corner of the island.
If you are a coffee lover, you can’t miss the “Yamato Cafe” located in Pingtung County, the most southern part of Taiwan.
The coffee shop is one of the must-visit places with its greenery dotted on the historical facade.
Sitting next to an ancient Japanese railway station, Zhutian, the cafe was once a rice mill. It was named “Yamato” — the old name of Zhutian township in the Japanese language.
To breathe new life into the 80-year-old building, “Studio APL,” a local interior design company, successfully transformed the old open-air barn into a lush, fashionable coffee shop that welcomes thousands of tourists every year.
The coffee shop is featured on the website of the international design magazine “designboom,” giving global exposure to this one-of-a-kind design.
Then, you must be wondering how did the team do the transformation?
The exterior of the cafe is based on the old warehouse’s walls which make it not very obvious when you pass by. When you push open the door carved with the number 1942 and enter, however, you will see the counter and baking kitchen with plants basking in the sun.
After you order your food, a semi-outdoor courtyard comes into view.
You can either ascend a flight of stairs on the side to the gallery on the second floor or go directly to the indoor dining area. The dining area features french windows with several lively trees in the semi-outdoor courtyard, bringing more natural sunlight.
The tranquil atmosphere will surely leave you in peace.
At the center of the coffee house sits a semi-open courtyard surrounded by the glasshouse where visitors can sit and quietly admire the courtyard and enjoy the sunlight streaming through the windows and the gold rain trees rustled in the wind.
Within this stone courtyard, you can either choose a seat beside the wall and quietly enjoy a good book or a stoned table which can accommodate four to six people for a meeting or a celebration.
In addition, the courtyard can be used as a wedding venue. The old warehouse’s large span steel structure creates space without the columns.
Besides, some golden rain trees have been plated at the courtyard and their leaves’ colors would change to different colors that echo the coffee house’ interior design color as the season shifts.
In winter, the leaves will turn brown, which reflects the color of the old warehouse’s rust on steel.
In summer, the leaves will turn green while the Madagascar Almond trees, planted on the side of the road outside, will also turn green, echoing the golden rain trees.
name: stone courtyard
architecture office: studio APL
lead architects: pei-an li & pei-chen li
project team: yu-feng sung
location: Pingtung, Taiwan