The Teamaker’s Guest House competition called for design proposals for an eco-friendly, cost-effective accommodations to house visitors to the Ozolini teamakers retreat, which is sited in a forest 100 kilometers southeast of the Latvian capital city of Riga. The retreat and tea farm is a popular destination for meditation and eco-fitness seekers, surrounded by a landscape of wetlands, meadows, pastures, trees, and a lake.
As an eco-tourist destination, the retreat must by definition be sustainable, and have a positive impact on its environment. The chosen competition site was focused on the remains of a two-storey stone barn built in 1850 once used for drying and storing tea. Participants were given the option to retain the stone barn, or to reimagine it in a new way. As the winning projects will be considered for construction, design proposals were judged for their sensitivity to the existing site and its natural environment, for their use of sustainable materials, and their constructability.
Projects were also judged for their responsiveness to the brief’s programmatic requirements: three guest bedrooms each accommodating two people; a common bathroom with toilets and showers; a common kitchen; a large open living area that can be used for gatherings, small events, meditation, and yoga sessions; and a naturally-lit tea-making workshop for up to 12 guests seeking to learn the process of cutting, drying, and packing herbal teas.
This competition was run in collaboration with the site’s owners, Ozolini, a generations-old producer of herbal teas. As part of Bee Breeders' design competition series focused on small-scale architecture, it was also run in partnership with ARCHHIVE BOOKS, whose Issue 2: Small-Scale Architecture, will be made available in 2020. Recently completed competitions that were also part of this design series include proposals for a Flamingo Observation Tower in Abu Dhabi, Pavilosta Poet Huts, Iceland Northern Lights Rooms, European Velo Stops, and Amber Road Trekking Cabins.
Bee Breeders thanks all the competition participants for the excellent quality of work and variety of design proposals well-suited to the needs and aspirations of the Ozolini tea farm.
Jury feedback summary
“T-house” flips the typical A-frame construction to a V-frame, permitting open spaces with high ceilings, and expressing the programmatic separation of the upper-level bedrooms on one side from a double-height workshop on the other. The new form made of wood, copper, and brass, is placed sensitively on the existing barn walls with a facade that opens up on two sides of the building by means of a brise-soleil system of louvers. The renderings excellently express the project materiality and the atmosphere of both the interior and exterior conditions. The modern form and materials are balanced by a rustic farm aesthetic.