Antioch Tea House

April 2012 - present

Yellow Springs Blog

In 2012 a four person collaborative group of professional artists/architects/designers/builders including Sara Black (Professor of Art at Antioch College), Rod Northcutt, Charlie Vinz (designer and architect),  and Jillian Soto (writer and artist) embarked on a multi-part design build project with Antioch College students and community members at the newly reopened at Antioch College. The project focused the creation of a community gathering space on the Antioch College Organic Farm. Other participants include current Antioch students Sam Senzek, Maisie Taibbi, Rachael Smith, Nargees Jumahan, Adam Abraham; newly admitted student Gabe Amrhein; and community members Carissa Burkett, Ethan Miller, and Antioch College Farm Director Kat Christen.

Spending some time on-site as part of charrette (photo by Sara Black)

Team leader sites:

Sara Black

Jillian Soto

Charles Vinz

Charles Vinz sketching (photo by Sara Black)

An initial model (photo by Sara Black)

Jillian Soto, Rod Northcutt, and Gabe Amrheim at the original Charrette (photo by Sara Black)

Initial design charrette (photo by Sara Black)

A design charrette held on April 14/15 2012 generated ideas for a newly considered international tea garden and shelter at the farm. The group envisioned a structure that would involve a ritual process of building, would celebrate harvest (because of its location), would consider the importance of water, and would promote community sharing through a ritual important by many nations and peoples: the drinking of tea. The site would be a wooded area adjacent to the farm where an older, unstable structure (a tea house originally built in the 1970's) was built. That structure would be removed and in its place would rise an open air pavilion with a single back wall, a shed roof, a stone floor, and a water channel cutting through the middle of the floor to shunt rainwater to a pond in front of the tea house. There will be a rocket stove that straddles the channel with a permanently installed tea kettle that would allow community members to use the shelter for tea and conversation. 

The project requires multiple build events (estimated completion June 2014)

Stages completed so far (four build-events):

Students and community members in Yellow Springs along with the grounds crew at Antioch College took down and salvaged the material from the existing tea house

Further demolition of the original building (photo by Sara Black)

Pulling down the original structure (photo by Sara Black)

Holes were dug and footings were poured for the new structure

Rod Northcutt and Sara Black digging foundation holes for post footings (photo by Sara Black)

The concrete from the non-functioning pond was removed

Tomaz Williams breaking apart the concrete liner of the original pond (photo by Sara Black)

The foundation was prepared for the cordwood wall

Pea-gravel formed the base (photo by Sara Black)

Stones collected from a local quarry created the stem wall (photo by Sara Black)

Using materials that were gathered from the area or donated by generous citizens (great thanks to George Bieri, Paul Abendroth, Richard Lapedes, and Richard Zopf), the team erected the roof structure and began work on the back (cordwood) wall.

Jillian Soto on the Chainsaw (photo by Sara Black)

Rod Northcutt and Sam Senzek on shaving horses debarking the cordwood to reduce insect activity (photo by Sara Black)

The stack of debarked, hardwood for the cordwood wall (photo by Sara Black)

Erection of the roof structure (photo by Sara Black)

The stone floor featuring the channel was laid and roof completed

Laying the foundation for the stone floor (photo by Charles Vinz)

Roof completed  (photo by Charles Vinz)

Structural stages completed at the final build in June 2014:

  • Cladding of the ceiling 
  • Completion of the cordwood wall (to the joists)

Stages to be completed by independent teams in 2015

  • Fabrication and installation of the gutter system and Japanese downspout/rain-chain on the shed roof
  • Creation of rocket-stove
  • Installation of tea kettle



 The Tea House completed structure, Summer 2014

The Tea House completed structure, Summer 2014