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3 Tea Houses Built to Preserve Live Oak Root Systems

A group of three Tea houses located on a private lot in Silicon Valley, California have been designed by Swatt Miers Architects for a client who had always dreamed of creating a private dwelling with the remote hills of their home. The client had discovered an idyllic setting years prior, located just under a grove of Live Oaks At first the concept was to create a tree house but that vision eventually morphed into a cluster of Tea Houses. The 3 Tea Houses each have their own purpose. Meditation; sleep and creative inspiration and each are located in close proximity to each other.

Each building is designed to be a transparent shell of glazing encapsulated within a steel framework. The strength of the steel allows the buildings to cantilever over the ridge via channel rim joists while the Cast-in-place concrete anchors the steel to the landscape.
With its low impact footprint, the Tea Houses are designed to work with the land rather then against it thereby minimizing grading and preserving the delicate root systems of the native oaks.
Two of the Houses are side by side while a third one is lower down the slope and accessed via a short flight of stairs.
The buildings are tucked into the slope with a pathway behind and a concrete retaining wall holding the landscape in check. The first of the Tea Houses is the Creative Volume.
From a distance, a small wooden platform is the only suggestion of the entry door, but on closer inspection the door hardware and frame are revealed.
This first building is the creative volume. With stunning views and an equally stunning live edge work table, the client is sure to be inspired.
Even the vegetation tucked up to the creative volume is beautiful.
The Creative House is connected to the Sleeping House by concrete walls and hidden behind these walls is a small bathroom area.
The bathroom is open to the sky above via a long skylight.
A window in the bathroom wall exposes a view to 3 small trees.
The bedroom volume has a mirror image silhouette of the creative volume with the same wood platform leading up to the entry door.
The bedroom views are more have a strong sense of perspective as branches from the Live Oak sway gracefully in front of the glazings.
What an awesome view to wake up to.
Just past the bedroom volume a short wooden planks embedded into the landscape leads down to the Meditation Volume.
Once more a wood platform dictates the entry to the third Tea House.
With a slightly different vantage point and a different orientation, the meditation volume does not cantilever, but perches quietly under the canopy of a Live Oak.
Swatt Miers Architects

Photography by Tim Griffith


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