This cluster of outdoor tea rooms reconnects people to the stars

Ibara, Japan – The former town of Bisei, which means ‘beautiful stars’, is known both as a sanctuary for stargazing, and the birthplace of Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist priest credited with introducing green tea to Japan. Moriyuki Ochiai Architects was inspired by the town’s heritage (now part of the city of Ibara) to create Sei-An, a ‘constellation of tea rooms’ which sprawl across a field, framing the surrounding natural landscape of rolling hills and distant mountains.

Built to accommodate events held throughout the year by the Astronomy Club and the Tea Ceremony Club, as well as a performance stage for concerts and plays, the 16 structures are arranged in harmony with the undulating terrain ‘creating a landscape in which the indoor and outdoor expand seamlessly,’ says the design team. Painted with striking colours and pierced by polygonal openings, the geometric wooden structures become highly permeable, taking in light, rain and the starry night sky.

Top: The teahouses are sprawled across a natural landscape. Middle: The aim of the project is to reconnect the local people with Ibara's beautiful skies. Bottom: Polygonal cuts in the structures’ surfaces blur the boundaries between interior and exterior.

Moriyuki Ochiai Architects has created an installation that is as functional as it is spiritual in order to reshape the town’s panorama: ‘The loose gathering of tea rooms forms an extension of the landscape and creates an environment that enhances the fun and enjoyment derived from human activities.’

This project was featured in the latest volume of our hospitalty-design series, Night Fever 6. Get your copy here.

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