June 10, 2021

T.K. Chu Creates a Meditative Home Complete With a Shrine in Suzhou, China

The tea room opens into the courtyard. Photography by Ting Wang. 

Located in the Old City of Suzhou, China, next to the Couple Gardens (a UNESCO World Heritage site), sits villa Smriti Curtilage—a residential complex steeped in nature, art, and the city’s storied past. When renovating the roughly 11,732-square-foot space, the team led by T.K. Chu of T.K. Chu Design Group, took into account the surrounding garden to inform the home’s architecture. Expansive floor-to-ceiling windows ensure each ground-floor room offers a view, and curated accents throughout—such as biomorphic furnishings—solidify the connection to the landscape. Furthering a sense of harmony between indoors and out, a custom shrine made of wood enlivens the area beneath the staircase and is flooded with light from a narrow, circular skylight above. The shrine also serves as a focal point in the entertainment area, which features a cinema, wine cellar, bar, and the homeowner’s art collections. Ultimately, the villa is designed to offer a narrative on the “harmony between humans and nature,” as Chu says, noting that its vertical and horizontal planes offer “a balance of the inner and the outer worlds.”  

The living room features unique accent pieces and floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Photography by Ting Wang. 
The shrine. Photography by Ting Wang. 
A closer view of the artwork Coupling by Polin Yang. Photography by Ting Wang. 
The entertainment room features a bar and vibrant furnishings. Photography by Ting Wang. 
A circular opening above the shrine connects the living room to the upper levels of the home. Photography by Ting Wang. 
A view of the staircase. Photography by Ting Wang. 
The dining room. Photography by Ting Wang. 
The main bedroom. Photography by Ting Wang. 
A corridor next to one of the bedrooms. Photography by Ting Wang. 
The bathroom off of the main bedroom. Photography by Ting Wang. 

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