NUIT BLANCHE INDEPENDENT PROJECT PROPOSAL
KINOKO: SUDDENLY IN THE DARK,
A teahouse has only one dimension of experience (albeit a very deep one), as opposed to our current
shallow but multidimensional, multimediated paradigm. The tea ceremony, at its heart is but three
things; Boil the water, make the tea, enjoy the tea. However, the deliberateness of the
Using minimal materials, such as wood, mud and paper, teahouses are traditionally built so as to
almost lift out of the landscape, with a very small footprint.
The beauty of the landscape is universally accepted. Landscape is as much natural as it is the
signs of human interaction with nature.
Combining my interests in architecture, design and cultural practices I propose a teahouse, to be
built within 401 Richmond. Deep underground, through a low brick arched passage, a teahouse will be
found by visitors in an alcove. If one is lucky, they will be able to experience a formal serving
of tea. For everyone else, the teahouse will serve its other traditional purpose as a resting spot
for weary travelers, who will be revived with a friendly cup of tea and a spot to sit.
I plan to build a teahouse, called Kinoko, in the basement of 401 Richmond.
It will be a teahouse built in the spirit of traditional teahouses, but using
contemporary materials and techniques, and serving a contemporary audience.
Leading up to, and away from the teahouse will be a secret garden.
Kinoko (mushroom) evolved out of my appreciation of tea, and the observation
that there needs to be a respite from the hectic life where everything is fast;
fast food, fast yoga, etc.
The teahouse will transform the space into an area of tranquility and
Main Stairs En Route
Audiences will approach the teahouse via the main stairs to the basement, which run from the Richmond entrance of 401
Richmond. At the bottom of the stairs they will notice a small garden flanking a low (6 foot) brick arched corridor. The
garden will consist of a small amount of rocks and earth moved on site for the event, as well as small plants and oth-
er materials, arranged in a deliberate way to denote an entrance. A volunteer should be stationed at the bottom of the
stairs or near the entrance to direct visitors, and answer questions.
Tunnel Entrance Inside the Tunnel Teahouse site
The Tunnel, which symbolizes the journey that one embarks on to arrive at the teahouse, is approximately three feet
wide by six feet tall by ten feet long. LED candles in a paper sconce, or some other such type of light diffuser will
light it. A soundscape of wind and other natural sounds, playing in the Tunnel will signify the beginning of the jour-
ney. Visitors emerge out of the tunnel after ten feet, into the Anteroom, a small room with green mossy walls and a
curtain. The Anteroom and Tunnel will allow the visitor time to cleanse their mental palate before arriving at the
teahouse. After ten feet of tunnel, a small room will appear on the left of the visitor. The room, normally used for
storing brick, will contain a small teahouse, large enough for three people. The teahouse will look like a softly glow-
ing fungus During the earlier part of the evening, tea practitioners from various traditions will hold a tea ceremony at
scheduled intervals. During the times when there are no ceremonies being performed, visitors are invited to enjoy the
space, to rest and reflect. When ready, the visitor can continue on the path, through another set of curtains and back to
the normal world.
The teahouse will be designed using state of the art parametric 3D modeling, and built using
sustainable materials. I have been experimenting with lightweight structures and construction
techniques for the past two years, and I will use that experience to build the teahouse. The
site I have chosen affords multiple methods of construction/suspension, which gives me a lot
of flexibility in terms of material use and structure.
Bamboo – 25 meters of ½” diameter or
Tyvek – 1 roll
Cable ties – 2 packages
Rare earth magnets – 2 boxes
Fishing line – 1 spool
LED candles - 10
Sprouts – about 2 pounds
Various plants – 50
Earth/dirt – 2 bags
Fabric for noren/curtain – 4 yards
Eyehooks – 1 package
Hemp rope – 50 meters
Portable tatami mats - 3
Sterno burners – 10
Tea pot - 3
Tea cups - 10
Tea leaves – 4 packages
Water heater - 1
Video projector - 1
Speakers – 1 set
Extension cable - 3
Black duct tape – 2 rolls
Stools – 2-4
Table - 1
Lights – 2-3
Tea experts, Sorlie Madox, Setsuko
Sanagawa, Julian Lall
Tea stall staff – 2 per shift, 3 shifts
Volunteers – One at the Tunnel entrance
and preferably one at the exit to direct
visitors and assist the Stall staff.
The lightweight nature, as well as the use of my chosen materials in construction should mean that
there be no significant structural problems. I will be in discussion with an engineer during the
design/build phase for any structural safety concerns, and I will abide by fire regulations, as
stated in the Ontario Building Code. I will be working closely with 401 Richmond maintenance and
administrative staff to ensure that security and safety concerns are addressed.