tea makers guest house

brief: Design an eco-friendly and cost-effective guest house for people visiting the Ozolini tea makers in Latvia. The house should be located on the site of the old stone barn, any portion of which may be reused, and should include a dedicated area for tea making workshops and a large common area for gatherings, events, and yoga classes in addition to the basics of bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen.

site strategy

1. Retain the existing foundation slab and remove or store all other materials for potential reuse, particularly the stone, wood planks and wood framing.

2. Confine the extent of the conditioned space to the existing footprint to avoid additional excavation & cost. 

3. One floor is not sufficient to address the requested program, but two full floors is too much.  One and a half floors meets all requirements and creates a sun drenched double height space ideally suited to a great room.

4. Add porches on the north and west sides to extend the living space, protect in ground eco-friendly mechanical systems, and promote greater connectivity to the spectacular landscape

the building

The new guest house is designed to be as environmentally sustainable and universally accessible as possible, featuring:

  • 3D local clay printed exterior walls with cavity fill insulation

  • radiant under floor heating/cooling

  • energy efficient windows with bird deterrent coatings

  • intensive green roof complemented by solar shingles

  • recycle existing stone for fireplace and outdoor fire pit

  • recycle existing wood planks for deck

  • the house is universally accessible via ramp

  • all hardware, fixtures, and fittings are universally accessible

  • there is a guest room and bathroom on the ground floor

  • The tea drying, packaging and workshop areas have sliding walls to customize size & layout as needed.

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great room

The focal point of the house is the great room, combining kitchen, living and dining areas. There are ample seating options, including lounge chairs at the second floor balcony, nooks at the stair and fireplace, bar stools at the fully equipped kitchen, a dining table for 8 as well as a large sectional sofa, ensuring everyone can find the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea.  The custom display cases showcase a selection of teapots, tea cups, and associated items, and the railings incorporate the Ozolini Tea logo. Furniture can easily be moved or reconfigured for events or yoga classes, making the room highly flexible. The room is further complemented by locally sourced materials, furniture and accessories.

The exposed beams and vaulted ceiling recall the original stone barn and traditional Latvian architecture. The beams are engineered lumber; made of recycled or leftover wood bonded together under very high pressure, they are stronger and more environmentally sustainable than conventional timber beams. The fireplace is constructed of stones recycled from the barn, giving memory to the earlier historic structure and providing a focal point for the room. The two story glass wall opens onto the west porch, built from wood planks from the original barn, which can be used for events, outdoor dining, yoga, or simply relaxing. 

A ramp on the southern edge provides universal access, and wraps around the fire pit, the perfect place to spend spring and summer nights enjoying the gorgeous and serene landscape beyond.

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event space

The event space on the second floor serves a variety of purposes.  It can easily accommodate groups of 12 for tea related workshops, groups of 10 for yoga classes, and groups of 25-30 for movies, lectures or other events.  The full height windows which begin at the floor facilitate a deep connection to the beautiful surrounding landscape, and the diamond skylights offer a view of the stars from the warmth and comfort of the house. The carmine accents of the great room are echoed in the deep closet doors at either end of the room, which store all the furniture and supplies required for a variety of functions. As with the rest of the house, the event space is heated via radiant floors and finished with locally sourced recycled materials.

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