Illinois resident Mary Kalantzis rises every morning with a view worthy of the next world. "I wake up to the vision of the hut everyday," she says. "There's something about the proportions that make it appear heavenly." The hut is the butterfly-roof-adorned tea and meditation structure perched above a pond on their 14 acres in Champaign, Illinois.
Designed by architect Jeffery Poss, the tea hut is the first of what Kalanzis and her husband, Bill Cope, hope to be several sculptural structures on their property, which comprises a forested grove to the east, a former tree farm on the west, and the main house and hut in the middle. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
"They wanted a quiet space to observe the surrounding nature and have a cup of tea," says Poss, who himself has hand-built two huts in the past, though this was the first time he worked with a contractor. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
The hut, which was completed in 2010, measures in at just 97 square feet and sits along the north edge of a pond. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
"The location allowed the development of several effluvial sensations," Poss says. "Throughout the day water reflections are projected onto the soffit." Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
The V-shape roof, which dominates the structure's silhouette, channels rainwater to a central spout then into the pond—for most of the year. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
A simple walkway leads to the unassuming entrance. "It's obscured, detailed like the cedar walls," Poss says. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
Inside, a large window opposite the main door frames a view of mature trees. The main interior spaces is the raised platform supporting three tatami mats. "The floor of glossy ebonized birch has the sensation of a deep, still pond," Poss says. "The grass tatami mats become an island within an island." Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
The low, horizontal window in the main space "frames a meditative fragment of water," Poss describes. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
The deep-V, butterfly roof characterizes the hut on the outside and defines the interior as well. "It was a result of several experiments to maximize the reflective light effects, channel the rainwater into the pond, and capture a view of the sky," Poss says. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
In the winter, instead of floating over the pond, the hut sits lightly above the snow. "It's protected and serene but alive with subtle energy," Poss says. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!