During the summers of 2015 and 2016, studio members along with friends and family came together build a teahouse on a remote island off the coast of Maine. The 10-foot-square building is sited on the shore of an old ice pond, and its design draws inspiration from both the vernacular architecture of the region as well as the sky spaces of James Turrell.
Built to withstand New England 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, a structure defined as much by its openings as its enclosure.
The Teahouse opens wide to face the tall reeds of the ice pond, while a large skylight over the sleeping space opens up to a view of the maple trees framing the night’s stars. The gable wall features a 100-year-old nine-panel transom window salvaged from a barn on the property. The retractable roof panels, mounted on industrial drawer slides, can be closed during summer rainstorms.