TEAHOUSE

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The Teahouse

During the summers of 2015 and 2016, friends, family, and Studio members came together to build a sleeping porch on a remote Maine island where Brendan spends time each summer helping run a wooden boat building program. The 10 foot square building, named the Teahouse, was inspired by a letter Brendan's father wrote in 1983 to a local builder inquiring about building a small teahouse on the shores of an old ice pond on the property, where islanders harvested ice blocks to sell to passing ships in the 1800s.

 

The letter from Brendan's father told the story of how the teahouse would be a thank you gift for the couple who sold the land to the Ravenhills, since they had always imagined that the forested banks of the ice pond would be a lovely place to have a spot of tea. Nothing ever came of that original letter, and Brendan's father passed away some years later. But 30 years on, the idea of pond-side teahouse finally became a reality.  

 

Located in a maple grove, the design of the Teahouse draws inspiration from the vernacular architecture of sugar shacks used to boil down maple syrup, and the sky spaces of artist James Turrell. 

 

Built to withstand Maine winters, the simple timber frame structure is sheathed in rough sawn pine and enclosed by plywood panels that are removed for summer use when the Teahouse transforms from a tidy outbuilding to a seasonal cave, opening to face the pond. 

 

With a large open face and retractable roof, the structure opens wide to the peaceful island atmosphere, while providing a basic comfortable shelter for sleeping and star gazing.

 

A mosquito screen is stretched along the front face of the Teahouse to keep the pests out but let the sights, sounds and smells of the forest in.

 

During the winter, the roof is closed and a flat-packed plywood skin - stored under the foundation platform during the summer - is brought out and wrapped around the Teahouse to protect the interior from the harsh winter climate. 

A reclaimed barn window illuminates the Teahouse from the back. The pane was salvaged from a barn that used to be sited on the property, and was incorporated into the design to honor the previous owners who sold the land to Brendan's family.

 

The retractable roof, built on drawer pulls, opens for firefly watching in June and meteor showers in August.

 

Located in a maple grove, the design of the Teahouse draws inspiration from the vernacular architecture of sugar shacks used to boil down maple syrup, and the sky spaces of artist James Turrell. 

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