titled ‘shi-an’, this temporary tea house was created using only ‘washi’, traditional japanese paper, as a structural element. in order to stabilize the typically fragile material, an origami technique was developed. this not only ensured structural stability, but also served as a joint mechanism, allowing the pavilion to be assembled in a modular manner. pieces of paper measuring 50 x 100 centimeters (20 x 40 inches) were folded eight times to form a single unit with two ‘pockets’ and two ‘arms’. this meant that no glue was required as the pieces could simply be slotted together.

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper
all images by takuya watanabe

 

 

designed by katagiri architecture + design and akinori inuzuka design, the movable tea house is shown here at nijō castle — a UNESCO world heritage site in the japanese city of kyoto. constructed in 1603 at the beginning of the edo period by ieyasu tokugawa, the castle is known as one of the country’s most prestigious flat land castles. the design team says that the tea house is inspired by the beauty of transience, which represents japan’s sense of values towards space and the environment.

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

 

 

the simple construction method means that ‘shi-an’ can be assembled and disassembled quickly and easily without fixed foundations. in addition, the origami structure can be built in different ways to accommodate a variety of activities. ‘the cellular structure metabolizes its own body like living creatures for continuous adaptation to surrounding environments and its uses,’ says the design team. see more configurations in the gallery at the bottom of this page.

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

'shi-an' is a temporary tea house built entirely from washi paper

 

 

project info:

 

name: shi-an
design: katagiri architecture + design / akinori inuzuka design
location: kyoto, japan
function: temporary tea house
area: 3 sqm
material: washi paper
client: nada art gallery
contractor: frames
photography: takuya watanabe photography