This project involved three phases that culminated in the design of a Japanese teahouse and garden. In phase I, students designed and crafted plaster models as an introduction to formal and spatial relationships. Next, they explored additive processes through the design and construction of basswood cadence models. Finally, elements from the first two phases were used to generate the teahouse.
Students were encouraged to study the Japanese tea ceremony and the specific thresholds, gardens and interior spaces it requires. All aspects of the final design had to be derived in some way from the earlier wood or plaster models. Overall, the project was a means of introducing new students to architectural concepts like spatial hierarchy, procession and solid/void.
For a gently sloping site, I created a low-lying complex with a series of thresholds and gardens leading to a ceremonial tea room. I carved away portions of the site, and elevated others, in order to develop a procession that distances the user from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The main building is a solid block with a partially translucent box projecting off of it. The block contains the tea preparation area while the projecting box serves as the ceremonial tea room. To enter the tea room, guests must step up, through a small doorway, and onto the cantilevered floor plane. This act of leaving the ground behind creates one final separation between the guest and the outside world, putting him or her in the mindset of focusing solely on the tea ceremony.