Glass Getaway: Tranquil Tea Houses in the Trees

Some people might choose the wide open desert, or a cliff overlooking the ocean. But when imagining the perfect place to relax, meditate or work on a creative project like writing a book, it’s almost always the quiet sun-dappled woods that come to mind. These glass tea houses by Swatt Miers Architects take full advantage of a beautiful Silicon Valley setting.

Along with his daughter, a California homeowner set out to explore the remote hills surrounding his home, discovering an idyllic setting below a ridge. A grove of sprawling California Live Oaks gave the site special significance. First envisioning a tree house, their idea for a quiet getaway evolved into what you see here – tea houses that are almost entirely made of glass.

The trio of minimalist spaces offer the same proximity to nature that a tree house would provide, but with the additional benefit of being comfortable year-round. Each tea house has its own purpose: meditation, sleeping and creative thinking.

“Each tea house is designed as a transparent steel and glass pavilion, hovering like a lantern over the natural landscape,” says Swatt Miers. “Cast-in-place concrete core elements anchor the pavilions, supporting steel channel rim joists which cantilever beyond the cores to support the floor and roof panes. With its minimal footprint, the design treads lightly on the land, minimizing grading and preserving the delicate root systems of the native oaks.”