Tea Houses Silicon Valley, California Residential Property, USA rural architecture images, Architect

Tea Houses California

Contemporary American Folly: Silicon Valley Buildings design by Swatt | Miers Architects

Oct 23, 2014

Location: Silicon Valley, California, USA

Design: Swatt | Miers Architects

The idea for the Tea Houses originated years ago, when the owner and his young daughter explored the remote hills surrounding their Silicon Valley home, discovering an idyllic setting below a ridge, under a grove of large California Live Oak trees.

Tea Houses California

Photos by Tim Griffith

Silicon Valley Tea Houses in California

At first, the family thought the setting would be perfect for a tree house. Years later, after the 6000 square foot main house was extensively remodeled, the vision was realized as three individual tea houses, places where one could simply retreat into nature.

Each tea house is designed as a transparent steel and glass pavilion, hovering like a lantern over the natural landscape. Cast-in-place concrete core elements anchor the pavilions, supporting steel channel rim joists, which cantilever beyond the cores to support the floor and roof planes. With its minimal footprint, the design treads lightly on the land, minimizing grading and preserving the delicate root systems of the native oaks.

Tea Houses Silicon Valley

The three tea houses vary in size, each with its own unique purpose. The 270 square foot ‘meditation’ tea house, nestled under the canopy of the largest oak tree, is a place for individual contemplation. The slightly larger ‘sleeping’ tea house, approximately 372 square feet, is a place designed for overnight stays. This structure is joined by a sky-lit bathroom core, which bridges to the largest tea house. At 492 square feet, the ‘visioning’ tea house is for intimate gatherings and creative thinking. The notion of ‘quiet simplicity’ is a consistent theme throughout – there are no phones, televisions or audio systems within these structures.

The design emphasizes sustainability. Steel framed doors and awning windows provide access and high – low ventilation, while custom-modified aluminum framed sliding doors, with custom steel interlockers and fixed glass panels, mitered at the corners, dissolve the barrier between inside and outside. Natural cooling is enhanced by shading from strategically placed landscaping, including evergreen redwood trees and bamboo, and deciduous maple and gingko trees. Heating is provided by a radiant hydronic system below the flooring. Electricity is produced on-site by a photovoltaic array mounted on the roof of the main house.

Tea Houses Silicon Valley

The interiors are executed with a simple palette of contrasting materials – crisply detailed steel and glass, and more ‘organic’ unfinished concrete, board formed and wire brushed to expose the wood grain, and cedar boards, recycled from the remodeling of the main house.

As the sunlight and shadows move across the hillside the tea houses take on different forms – at sunrise, the structures disappear into the long shadows; the soft silhouette of the midday sun casts dramatic reflections off the glass; and by evening, the structures glow like lanterns in a garden. Viewed from afar or viewed from within, the tea houses appear at one with their sites, inextricably connected to the native California landscape.

Tea Houses Silicon Valley

Tea Houses, California – Building Information

Architect: Swatt | Miers Architects – Robert Swatt, FAIA
Consultants: Yu Strandberg Engineering, structural engineering
Contractor: Neto Construction

Photographs: Tim Griffith

Tea Houses Silicon Valley

Tea Houses California images / information from Swatt | Miers Architects, USA

Location: Silicon Valley, California, United States of America

Californian Buildings

California Architecture Designs – architectural selection below:

Cathedral of Christ the Light
Design: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Cathedral of Christ the Light
photo : Timothy Hursley
Cathedral of Christ the Light

One Window House, Venice
Design: Touraine Richmond Architects, California
One Window house Venice
photo : Benny Chan from Fotoworks
One Window House

Pacific Palisades House – Santa Monica Canyon Home
Carrillo Residence
photograph : Barry Schwartz

Tea House Buildings

Riverside TeahouseMin River, Sichuan, southern China
Architects: Lin Kaixin Design
Riverside Teahouse Sichuan
photo : Wu Yongchang
Chinese Riverside Teahouse

Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse, Yangzhou, eastern China
Design: Harmony World Consulting & Design (HWCD)
Tea House in Yangzhou
photograph : T+E
Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse

Tea House in Hutong, East District, Beijing, northern China
Tea House China
photo from architects
Chinese Tea House in Hutong

Tea House, Shanghai, Jungong Road, Yangpu District, Shanghai, eastern China
Design: Archi-Union Architects
Tea House in Shanghai
photograph : Zhonghai Shen
Tea House Shanghai

Boa Nova Tea House, Portugal
Design: Álvaro Siza Vieira
Boa Nova Tea House
photograph : Joao Morgado
Boa Nova Tea House

El té – Brazilian Tea House, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Design: Gustavo Sbardelotto & Mariana Bogarin
El Té Brazil
photo : Marcelo Donadussi
El té Tea House

Tea House, Vreeland, Holland
Design: UNStudio
Tea House Vreeland
photo from architects
Dutch Tea House Building

Californian Architects

Los Angeles Architecture News

American Architectural Designs – recent selection from e-architect:

America Architecture News – latest building updates

US Architecture News

American Houses

American Architect

Tim Griffith

Pacific Palisades is a neighborhood and district in the Westside of the city of Los Angeles, California, located among Brentwood to the east, Malibu and Topanga to the west, Santa Monica to the southeast.

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