The aim was to make this tea house a model of energy efficiency and at the same time completely transparent to its natural surroundings. The pavilion lies at the end of a range of hills formed in the last ice age, when the earth was pushed more than 100m above sea level (quite an achievement by Dutch standards). From the entrance the floor rises in a continuous spiral that wraps itself around a group of trees ending in a 14m cantilever. The necessary construction is made from steel, for tension, and unprocessed solid oak, for compression. At its most pivotal point a large moraine supports the construction.
The building emphasises the value and power of natural resources and demonstrates the continuing dominance of nature over culture. At the same time, however, what remains of nature can no longer be experienced without cultural intervention. We can always intervene by buying land for conservation, as the Dutch Nature Conservancy continues to do, but is this enough? A much more important challenge is to change human behaviour; by raising awareness of both the power and vulnerability of nature through different media, including the (at first impression) dichotomous medium of building.....more