Combining Tradition and Modernity

Japanese Tea House

In a way, the tea house represents the self-image of the Humboldt Forum in its entirety: It combines tradition and modernity, brings different people and cultures together, enables common sensual experiences in a place of utter calm, right at the heart of the historic centre of the vibrant capital Berlin.

The tea house, specially designed for the new collection presentation in the Humboldt Forum, continues the tradition of public demonstrations of tea customs already practised by the Museum of Asian Art in Dahlem. Designed by a team of architects led by Jun Ura from Kanazawa, and realised with the participation of artists and craftspeople from Japan, the tea house creates sensitive references between Japanese and German history and culture, while the outside walls and the roof made of rust red Corten steel picks up the octagonal shape of the ruined tower of the Berlin Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche as a peace memorial. Along with traditional materials like handcrafted paper and lacquered wood, modern building materials dominate. The inside walls of the main space are equipped with eight traditional rice straw mats (in Kyoto-size), covered with European clay.

The teahouse consists of a preparation room and the main room in which the tea is served.  Here there is a fireplace sunk into the floor and a wall niche in which outstanding artworks are presented. In this place of calm and pleasure, visitors can experience the Japanese “Way of Tea” with all their senses, thereby forgetting their everyday concerns for a short time.

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