Refining tea house sukiya... / by Gwil Evans

For many centuries, sukiya style defined the architecture of Japanese homes, capturing defining elements of the Japanese tea house. An important dimension of sukiya is the seamless integration of interior and exterior spaces.

Taking full advantage of marvelous spring weather, Bill Cook worked the past couple of days on an area of the garden immediately west of the tea house. This area, that we refer to as The Mountain, is critically important to reinforcing the tea house sukiya style because it constitutes the foreground view.

Roof tiles on edge are a lyrical border

In his work, Bill removed stumps of maple and convex holly, dug a 10-foot trench and, in it, carefully placed ceramic roof tiles to constitute a border between the white granite "snow" on The Mountain above, and a pathway between The Mountain and the tea house engawa, or veranda.

View from the tea house contributes to sukiya

This tile border is special for several reasons, not the least is the origin of this repurposed (mitate) resource. These tiles originally were part of the roof of the Pavilion at the Portland Japanese Garden. We were fortunate to reclaim them a number of years ago after the Pavilion was re-roofed.

Once he had the tiles in place, carefully tamped in, and the soil leveled, Bill then renewed the surface of The Mountain with five bags of the traditional white granite, sometimes referred to as "rotted granite."

For a closer inspection of the project, please click on the individual images to view them larger.

A renewed layer of fine granite contributes to "snow cover" on The Mountain