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Mole Architects: Wabi Tea House, Prickwillow

Mole Architects: Wabi Tea House, Prickwillow


When not in use as a guest-room, this annex hosts Japanese tea ceremonies. Mole Architects won the 2004 RIBA Manser Medal for its Black House in nearby Ely, and repeats the colour here. Evoking a fen shack, it is built on Japanese principle of ‘wabi-sabi’; embracing the idea of transience through a beauty that is imperfect and impermanent. Almost all materials are reclaimed, and the client, a potter, hand-built all the joinery. Inside, clay render covers reed lathes. The effect is delightfully imperfect, but surprisingly permanent and complete.

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