Posted by: nedpelger | March 23, 2009

A Tea House Treehouse

The Japanese have a tradition of tea houses. The traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony can occur in these personal structures, as well as being just a cool place to hang out. Terunobu Fujimori,  a professor and architect, has observed that a teahouse is “the ultimate personal architecture.” So Fujimori built the tea house pictured below with his own hands.


The access comes from climbing the ladder pictured below. The article in DeZeen Design Magazine provides more photos and info. For example, the two chestnut tree supports were actually cut from a nearby mountain and brought to this site.



When you look at this tea house, what do you think? I wonder where in the world is the lateral stability? I don’t see any cross braces and can’t imagine that moment resisting connections could really be achieved either in the ground or in the tea house. So I think, “A strong wind is going to bring this baby down!” But then, I’m just a conservative old structural engineer.

I posted this partly because I thought the photos were stunning, partly because I was intrigued by the lack of lateral stability and partly to encourage you to consider doing something different if you find yourself with extra free time these days.


Whether you build some fun inexpensive structure, take some time to make some tea and meditate on the beauty of the process or do whatever, don’t let found free time go to waste. A buddy of mine got laid off last week and was telling me about his plans for the Spring. I was just a little jealous of the opportunity to have a chunk of free time.  Life goes fast, if something unexpected comes at you, make the most of it.

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