Tucked away in the forests of one of Taoism's Five Sacred Mountains, the new Tianzhoushan Tea House in Ahui was built as an homage to Chinese painting. Designed by China- and Switzerland-based practice Archiplein - featured in our 2013 Architects Directory - the sculptural concrete visitor centre was conceived to work in harmony with the site's dramatic surroundings.

'Here, building and nature are not seen as two separate systems', explains Francis Jacquier, one-fifth of the Archiplein founding team. 'They are approached as an integrated whole where the architecture is by no means the main focus point of the composition.'

The structure spans 1000sq m, following the landscape's contours down to the shores of a manmade mountain lake. The geometric composition features large, irregular openings. Located a pleasant walk away from the nearest village, it includes a teahouse and restaurant overlooking the lake and leafy slopes, and makes the perfect pit stop for summer hikers.