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Kengo Kuma’s Rooftop Tea House On A Canadian Terrace

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Name
Project
Vancouver Tea Room
Photographer
Words

On the 19th floor of a commercial tower in a busy, Downtown neighborhood in Vancouver, is ‘Vancouver Tea Room’—a rooftop terrace pavilion for traditional tea ceremonies. The teahouse was created by respected Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma.

‘Vancouver Tea Room’ is a modern take on the usual teahouse. Instead of designing a closed wooden structure in a garden or temple, Kuma chose the location as a space for stillness in a busy area, one that overlooks both the district and the bay. The renowned architect used steel and glass to frame expansive views over Coal Harbour. Additionally, instead of importing typical Japanese cedar for the exterior, local Douglas Fir was used in its place. The house is surrounded by pebbles and delicate moss, providing a lush contrast to the surrounding buildings. The inside features sliding walls and a low ceiling, with shoji screens covered in Japanese washi paper. The Tea Room embodies the philosophy of Chado, or ‘Way of tea’—a formal tea ceremony that is an iconic representation of Japanese culture, and closely aligned to the metaphysical notion of “being.” Through meticulous attention to detail in the preparation and consumption of tea, the participants enter into a shared experience where meditation is also encouraged.

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All images  © Ema Peter