J-Tea International is an importer and seller of Taiwanese oolong teas. Designed by Atelier Waechter and located in Eugene, Oregon this adaptive re-use project gracefully transforms an existing single family house located in a commercially zoned area into a retail space for tea sales and sampling. The goal of the project was to achieve this with as few moves as possible. The transformation is composed of 3 primary elements: entry canopy, porch and tea walls. Each element is visually distinct and has a specific purpose.
Architects: Atelier Waechter
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Builder: Rich Piltz Construction
Structural Engineer: Munzing Structural Engineering
Owner: Josh Chamberlain
Project Area: 1,000 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Sally Schoolmaster
The purpose of the canopy is to engage pedestrian and vehicular traffic giving the former house a commercial scale. Additionally, the canopy creates an airy and glowing entry court for outdoor seating. The white powder coated aluminum louvers stand out against the more subdued galvanized steel structure. The white louvers are placed below the support structure to give the impression that they are floating in space — like a cloud.
The porch draws the visitors eye into the tea room by creating an aperture that frames the interior space as if it were a stage set. The porch walls, floor and roof are made from a relatively thin 5 1/8” x 5’ Port Orford cedar glue laminated beam. The porch is lightly supported by two concrete stem walls and cantilevers at each end to heighten one’s sense of stepping into the porch emphasizing the entry threshold.
The purpose of the tea walls is to form a contained ring around a central tea bar creating a calm and quiet room, heightening the senses for the smelling and tasting of tea. The tea walls are composed of a grid of maple plywood that circumscribes the room and incorporates window openings for a continuous appearance. The grid of shelves is filled with richly colored and textured merchandise that creates a variegated pattern.