Visiting architect David Jameson’s hanging teahouse feels like a tranquil escape into the forest. The glass and bronze structure actually sits in the back yard of a residential neighborhood outside of Washington DC, where it serves as a place for mediation amid the suburban environment. Visitors feel simultaneously at one with nature, yet shielded from the elements by the structure’s glass walls.
We’ve seen adult-sized tree houses sprouting up around the world lately, but Jameson’s structure hangs independently. The teahouse is based on the design of a traditional Japanese lantern, and it appears to float among the trees in the family’s yard. During the day time, the teahouse is flooded with natural light thanks to its four walls of glass. At night, floor lamps illuminate the interior, which appears as a theatrical stage from the outside. Heavy beams of bronze brace the pendulum structure from the outside. The thick outer scaffolding only make the central tea house appear even lighter and more surreal.
A small staircase, inspired by origami, leads into the tea house, which is flanked by a thick wooden door. Inside, a simple bamboo mat covers the floor. A low table is used for tea service, and an ornate square mat offers a place for meditation and contemplation.
The owners use the structure as a tea house and a meditation space. Inside the structure, visitors appear as they are on a stage, so naturally the family uses the space for music recitals.
While the tea house does successfully bring its visitors in tune with nature, we wish Jameson had employed more sustainable features, like repurposed beams, or solar panels to power the minimal floor lamps.