Tea House

The TEA House is at once, a site specific project for clients in western Massachusetts, and a prototype for a landscape pavilion, appropriated for production on a larger scale. Intended as a glowing lantern and object in a larger natural landscape, the pavilion becomes a place of retreat, a switch to a different place and time accessible by each person in their own way. The clients are not only keepers of the surrounding landscape, but participants in the changing experience, where the existing environment is, at once, both absorbed and mirrored in the multiply refractive and reflective, semi-translucent exterior cladding system units. Programming ranges from tea ceremonies to garden storage shed– or from painting studio to open-air sleeping pavilion for two. There is a tatami matt-as-modular organization, and the pavilion is 9’ x 18’ in dimension.

The monolithic enclosure system for the TEA House uses a series of recycled, thermoplastic polymer tiles as an exterior cladding system. The individual, overlapping tiles also borrow from similar clay roof tiles only instead of opaque, they are semi-translucent. Tile interlock is achieved through profile curvature and each tile is designed to snap together with its neighboring tiles. There are 745 individual tiles, per pavilion – these consist of 598 flat, 23 ridge, 46 ridge eave, 4 ridge end, 2 end cap, 20 side course, 28 corner and 24 cut tiles, each manufactured using 8 CNC-milled formworks. The drape-forming over the milled formwork uses (20%) recyclable, epoxy molds to create the (745) 1/8” thick, (100%) recycled P.E.T.G. with UV inhibitor tiles. The semi-translucent tile material is intended to simultaneously reflect the immediate exterior environment and veil the backer panels, located directly behind the tile wall. Each of these layered, screened systems are set within a lightweight, structural aluminum frame comprised of “off-the-shelf” rectangular, extruded sections. The structural cage is affixed directly to a light-weight concrete slab with a corrugated underside profile and interlocking footings.  Ramp access can also be attached to the concrete slab, while the current backer panel print options consist of an ‘Arita porcelain’ panel set, a (1858 Hiroshige) ‘36 views of Mt. Fuji’ panel set, or pink & blue singular-color panels, each screened for privacy and additional light control.

As a pavilion, the TEA house becomes a glassy shed, a primitive veiled hut, its interior contents revealed through semi-translucency, with an interplay of exterior, surrounding landscape textures, forms and shadows on the interior. The overall form is generic, like that of a traditional Tea house, and the on-site assembly easy. It is a surface landscape of luminescence formed into a distinct object, embedded within a landscape – the pavilion projects an aura, a presence of the surrounding landscape, as affect.