Architects in ChargeFranz Leuthner, Claudia Pirchl
Text description provided by the architects. The concept of a traditional Japanese teahouse inspired the project located in Lower Austria. The building was designed as a contemporary interpretation of a teahouse that allows for a more diverse use. It serves as a place for drinking tea and observing silence and as a space for regression therapy for clients with the possibility for overnight stays.
Separated from the private house with an attached therapy room the teahouse is located in the property’s garden, among trees and bushes. Four pillars, made out of tree trunks, elevate the organic structure from the ground and allow the vegetation to grow both under and around the building. The massive black base adds the feeling of stability and durability to the teahouse, while the rest of the building rises organically from the base. A ramp serves to access the building comfortably. It is made out of tree trunks, as traditionally used by wine farmers in Lower Austria, and separated from the teahouse by a small gap.
To create the building’s organic form while still using a low-tech approach to the construction, we used small timber offcuts. A local barrel-maker provided the oak wood offcuts that were recycled on site. The timber pieces were stacked above each other in more than 40 layers, following the form of pre-built templates. A trapezoid shape, inserted into the organic form of the teahouse, frames the big window. Through the materiality of oak timber and copper, the teahouse fits into the surrounding vegetation and becomes part of the grown garden.
The low and narrow entrance of the teahouse opens up to the seemingly spacious interior. The inside features a protecting character like a cave or a uterus. An oval opening in the ceiling allows natural lighting to gleam into the building through painted glazing. For this purpose, a painting by the owner herself was printed on glass.
The small window offers a close look onto the bark of a nearby tree trunk. The frame around the big square window serves as a piece of furniture inviting to sit down. It directs the views towards the swimming pond as well as to the therapy room in the existing building.
The main material for the Teahouse is locally chopped oak timber. Due to the chosen construction method, we were able to recycle small timber offcuts of a local wine-barrel-maker for the main structure of the teahouse. The furniture and fixtures are made out of oak timber as well.