Jul 29, 2010

Tea house in Seattle

July 28, 2010
Recycled bottles pop up again, and this time they're a teahouse
Journal Staff Reporter

Architect Christopher Ezzell will spend next week in Occidental Park in a teahouse he fashioned from recycled plastic bottles.

The structure, created with the help of the Seattle branch of the Urasenke Foundation and others, will be made of 800 two-liter plastic bottles. Half of the bottles were previously used for a temporary art installation titled “waste not” in Pioneer Square's Nord Alley.

The cut-up bottles will be tied together with fishing line to make walls. The walls will hang off an aluminum hoop structure supported by aluminum poles, almost like a shower curtain.

“But hopefully it's going to look nicer than a shower curtain,” Ezzell said. The roof will be of Mylar previously used as a sail. Despite the effort at sustainability, some of the materials won't be green. “We couldn't be 100 percent LEED-certified,” quipped Ezzell, who heads a Vashon Island design firm called e workshop.

The project is equal parts architecture and performance installation. The idea is to build a three-dimensional structure where visitors can experience the intimate tea ceremony in which host and guest celebrate together.

“The experiment here is ‘can we have this experience in a busy urban setting and enjoy the values of (it)?'” said Ezzell, who is a student of tea at Urasenke. Inside the teahouse will be a platform made of reused cedar and cardboard, a flower arrangement and poem card that speaks to being in the moment. Ezzell and foundation members will demonstrate the tea ceremony Aug. 2 through Aug. 7, although the structure will be up through Aug. 8.

The teahouse is part of artSparks 2010, a program of King County's 4Culture and the city. The installations and performances — from street theater to temporary sculpture to music — will run through October in Occidental Park. The series began June 3 with “Build Here” by Room for Assembly, an artist collective that experiments with architecture.

Ezzell, who has a bachelor's in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design, practiced architecture in New York City for 15 years before moving to Seattle. In 2004 he founded e workshop. The firm's work includes residential projects, Long Provincial restaurant and sidewalk cafe in downtown Seattle, the butter London shop at Sea-Tac, and the plaza and pedestal for the Alki Statue of Liberty in collaboration with Cast Architecture.

Copyright 2010 Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce

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