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A Pause in Time: Exploring the Tea House Pavilion by Grau Architects

Images: Matej Hakár
Images: Matej Hakár

In the serene landscape near the town of Český Těšín, the Tea House Pavilion by Grau Architects stands as a modern homage to traditional Japanese architecture. Crafted from locally sourced spruce wood and plywood, this 9-square-meter pavilion offers a tranquil respite for visitors by the picturesque Hrabinka Lake in the Czech Republic.

The architects, from Slovakian studio Grau, participated in the 2022 Mood for Wood international design workshop, where the pavilion came to life. The structure not only pays homage to traditional Japanese tea houses but also embraces modern elements, striking a harmonious balance between the two. It serves as a testament to the power of simplicity in design, offering an intimate connection with nature and a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


"The pavilion invites people to a close experience with nature, focusing visitors' attention on the water reservoir - views, sounds, and movements. It forces a person to stop, to slow down thanks to the endless view into the treetops, the defined view of the boundless calm water surface, and the gentle closure from the surrounding bustle of everyday life."


The pavilion's design is a delicate balance of simplicity and modernity. The use of spruce wood seamlessly integrates the structure into the surrounding treeline, aligning with both design considerations and post-pandemic budget constraints. Plywood clads the lower part of the pavilion, while a thin white fabric adorns the upper half, creating a captivating interplay of light and shadow reminiscent of a lantern.

Inspired by the ethos of Japanese tea houses, the Tea House Pavilion features a low table at its center, inviting visitors to partake in tea ceremonies or engage in quiet contemplation. The square floor plan, measuring three by three meters, provides ample space for up to six people to comfortably gather around the low table.

Entering the pavilion becomes a symbolic act, requiring visitors to bow under a low horizontal beam, echoing the Japanese niriji-guchi doors that emphasize equality in tea ceremonies. The pavilion's multifunctional character extends beyond tea ceremonies, transforming into a summer pavilion at night, casting a gentle glow over the water, akin to a lantern resting on the lake's edge.

The Tea House Pavilion is not just a structure; it's an immersive experience designed to slow down time and create a profound connection between visitors and nature. It stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of simplicity, bringing a touch of traditional Japanese tranquility to the heart of the Czech Republic.


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