The Tea House is located in an approximately 110 m2 little garden, where a tall paulownia stands and covers our little building under its huge crown. Before that, this small place could not be seriously called garden, for it was something residue left by two staircases connecting to the neighboring office. Therefore, how to make the Tea House occupy this space at a minimum level so as to form a garden, becomes a key point in the design process.
We decide to put the building in the northwest corner where the paulownia stands, clinging to the back wall. In doing so, the Tea House would enjoy a relatively complete and large courtyard towards the gate. While at the same time, we cut the volume facing the paulownia into an “L” shape, thus forming a tiny backyard. This backyard functions as an outdoor room complementary to the Tea House. And the thick trunk of the paulownia, almost 90cm in diameter, also becomes a lively actor of the space. In order to link the building to the garden without disturbing it, we add three horizontal cantilevers at different heights: the one at 45cm high works as a bench encircling the building both inside and outside; the one at 1.8m high extends the interior space into the courtyard and marks the human scale of the corridor; the roof is the last cantilever. It covers an area of 40 m2 with a ground floor of only 19 m2. It redefines the outer space in the south, north and west, allowing the green space in the garden permeate inside and vice versa.
In order to hold this typical perception of a tiny, light Tea House, we choose to use 60mm steel tube in square cross section all over the building. While satisfying structural needs, this element could also have a chance to participate in the formal composition. It is the structural element; meanwhile, it adapts itself to the scale of the furniture, thus establishing a close relationship with human body. The roof is made of 8mm steel board. Its insulation board is fixed by the anti-ribbed steel panel, which is meant to keep the roof smooth. Considering the lighting system and thermal insulation, we make a suspended ceiling hiding the structural beam, while putting the air conditioning system under the floor.