bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses

‘tea house pavilion’ by grau architects 

 

Nestled among riparian trees on the bank of Hrabinka Lake in Český Těšín, Czechia, the ‘Tea House Pavilion’ is the latest public space intervention designed as part of the Mood for Wood international workshop. Led by Grau architects alongside participating students, the pavilion recalls the architecture of Japanese tea houses, rendered with modern strokes of expressions. ‘We work with a simple design principle of connecting wooden elements that create a complex static structure,‘ notes the practice.

 

According to Grau, the wooden pavilion invites people to an intimate experience with nature, focusing visitors’ attention on the water reservoir and its accompanying views, sounds, and movements. ‘It forces a person to stop, to slow down thanks to the endless view into the treetops, the defined view of the boundless calm water surface, and the gentle closure from the surrounding bustle of everyday life,’ continues Grau.

 

The subtle and light, open construction of the ‘Tea House Pavilion’ fits harmoniously and delicately into the surrounding environment. Its interior space, meanwhile, comfortably accommodates six people sitting face-to-face around a table during the tea ceremony, exuding a sense of intimacy. 

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses
all images © Matej Hakár

 

 

honoring traditional japanese tea ceremonies 

 

During the Mood for Wood workshop, Grau (see more here) transferred several rules of the traditional tea ceremony to the final design. For example, when entering the pavilion, each visitor must bend down to pass under the lowest horizontal beam of the structure, a nod to the ‘niriji-guchi’ door, a symbol of equality among participants. When seated, a rectifying view framing the water reservoir can be quietly enjoyed. Meanwhile, the open entrance frame allows a view into the gathering platform, and passersby can witness the tea ceremony unfold.

 

A low table in the middle of the layout invites visitors to sit on their knees as is customary in Japanese culture while stiffening of the lower part of the structure with plywood boards provides a feeling of privacy and detachment from external stimuli. The height of the table gives it versatility when used both during the tea ceremony or as a bench offering a place for sitting and quiet contemplation, thus following the Japanese ideology focused on simplicity and aesthetic sophistication. The table becomes the only central furniture of the pavilion; its depth allows the ceremony participants to sit closely to one another.

 

The pavilion has a multifunctional character, and, in addition to the tea ceremony, it can also function as a pleasant summer pavilion with soothing views of nature. The square-shaped floor plan refers to simplicity, and the use of primary elements depicts the symbol of matter and man.

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses

 

 

using wood to build ‘a complex static structure’

 

The pavilion comprises a 3×3 m plan area and spans 4 m in height. Its most distinctive feature is a matrix of wooden spruce squares complemented by a soft white fabric knitting itself upwards to create a draping layer over visitors. While distinct in its coloring, the fabric does not detract from the minimalist aesthetic of the ‘Tea House Pavilion’, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the meditative ritual.

 

Other materials used are spruce floor planks, birch plywood, and roof geotextile. The mass of the pavilion is based on the shape of traditional tea pavilions. Diagonally fixed fabric and closing two side walls with birch plywood create an impression of privacy and protection against weather conditions such as sun and rain, which the house provides. Still, the frame structure remains airy and open enough to allow a connection with the exterior and the creation of non-traditional views. Textiles in two levels bring a certain play to the pavilion to evoke traditional Japanese architecture.

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses
view of the low-height entrance of ‘Tea House Pavilion’

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses
nodding to the architecture of Japanese tea houses

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses
combining white fabric and a wooden matrix to create an enveloping cocoon

tea-house-pavilion-designboom-full-2

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses

 

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses
an intimate setting by the lake

bordering a lake, grau architects' wooden pavilion in czechia nods to japanese tea houses
a central table organizes the tea ceremony space

tea-house-pavilion-designboom-full-3

 

 

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project info:

 

name: Tea House Pavilion 

location: Hrabinka Lake, Český Těšín, Czech Republic 

client: Mood for Wood | @mood.for.wood

architecture: GRAU Architects | @grauarchitects 

participating students: Julia Kurnik, Alicja Łosik, Alexandra Gospodarek, Katarzyna Owczarska,
Maria Pawłova, Maciej Kuratczyk, Michał Teodorczyk, Jan Chmurski

photography: Matej Hakár | @matejhakar

project year: 2022 

gross floor area: 9 sqm

dimensions: 3 x 3 x 4 m 

cost: 15,000 euros 

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