The rose colored “bubbles” that float up from the renovated doorway of Mike Wu’s popular “Rose Tea Cafe”, on Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill, call to mind his famous bubble tea (also known as pearl milk teaboba milk teaboba juice or simply boba.) According to our sources, most bubble tea recipes contain a tea base mixed/shaken with fruit or milk, to which chewy tapioca balls and fruit jelly are often added. Ice-blended versions are usually mixed with fruit or syrup, resulting in a slushy consistency. There are many varieties of the drink with a wide range of ingredients. The two most popular varieties are bubble milk tea with tapioca and bubble milk green tea with tapioca.


As the slides on this page show, our “Rose Tea Cafe” facade design quite literally follows the bubbles and is developed around them.  They subsequently reappear indoors, emerging from wood ceiling panels that thread their way above the dining space. the project was originally composed of two different buildings which we connected together into one.


As with many of our projects, following the building code requirements while adhering to the client’s available funding was a continuing challenge.


The model in my renderings is my Chinese intern, Lin Hou, who, as of this edit, has graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and also Columbia University, where she obtained her Masters in Architecture.  Lin tells me she continues to love bubble tea.  We wish her good luck as she enters professional life!