Tea ceremonies have evolved a great deal since they first got their start in the ninth century, and as the ceremonies have grown and shifted in purpose, so have the tea houses that hold them.
Initially tea was seen as a medicine used to cultivate the mind, body and spirit; tea was seen as good for monks because it helped them to stay awake for long periods of meditation. For this reason, the military class sponsored the construction of large zen temples for monks to drink tea in. As tea began to grow in popularity beyond the temple, tea ceremonies became a source of entertainment for members of the upper class who could afford to gamble, read poetry and attend tea parties in extravagant pavilions.
Taking the idea of tea houses designed to mesh with their natural environment to a whole new level, Terunobu Fujimori created the Takasugi-an, which translates to “a tea house [built] too high.” He built the compact teahouse to appear as though it was resting between two chestnut trees, and although the only way to reach the tea house is via ladder, the view from the top gives visitors a perfect view of Chino, Japan. Instead of displaying the picture scrolls of traditional tea houses that indicated the time of year, Fujimori used the building’s windows to achieve the same effect while also allowing visitors to observe the profound changes that were happening in the world around them.
Although tea houses have come a long way since they first came into existence in the ninth century, modern tea houses still have strong roots in the traditional purposes of tea ceremonies. Tea house architects have to take into account how such structures have evolved over time and how they can continue to be adapted to fit the always-changing needs of modern society.
More info: http://www.archdaily.com/151551/the-evolution-of-the-japanese-tea-house/#more-151551