The basic concept of our design proposal was to want to create a place of meditation where the construction aspect was mitigated by sensory inputs and paying attention to the human scale in order to generate a positive impact on the emotional state of the people who will use its spaces.
In our opinion , a space to solve the stress of everyday life can be obtained by referring to the structures of Japanese temples and its Zen gardens, with an outer gate placed in the central axis of the area and in the south, south-east in our case , agreeing with the Chinese principles of fengshui. A pond in front of the Zen temple, in our case the central main building containing the hall for group meditation, with its walkway running through it represents moving from the profane to the sacred space.
The entire area dedicated to meditation is in an inner courtyard that contains a large Zen garden and water basin (pond) with covered colonnades and pedestrian walkways surrounded by a wall all around that, while it facilitates a sense of protection and impenetrableness (stone wall 4m high ), on the opposite side you find instead a series of portals ( about 9m high) with huts hanging and open on the nearby river and the wooded area with its elevated walkways that facilitate detachment from the ground world and at the same time elevate the human spirit.
In the design of the architectural complex we have included, as requested in the original brief, public areas dedicated to meditation (personal and for group), facilities, restaurant, cafe and tea room , workshops and interaction spaces. At the same time, we have also private areas such as spaces for people staying overnight and services.
The Group Meditation space is conceived as a quiet and intimate environment, which is accessed after walking through the large outdoor Zen garden, the group meditation room receives light through a skylight that crosses the entire roof. This zenith light, combined with the internal inclined walls completely covered in wood, serves to give a feeling of intimacy to a space however destined to accommodate even more groups of people. What makes this system of "steps" particular it is to allow users to have space for meditation but also possibly for ceremonies or meetings intended to see more people gathered.
The idea behind the portals is to establish a boundary, a gap between the outside world and the project space. However, this schism is only symbolic, even if it is impressive; in fact, the wide openings between the pillars allow the passage between the outside world and the interior space, while giving the impression of a physical separation.
The pillars also serve as a support for an elevated internal walkway, from which you can access the Personal Meditation huts. Obtained from the deformation of a parallelepiped, these small environments hanging from the beam of the portal want to constitute a kind of world apart, for recollection and personal reflections. Completely covered in wood, to obtain a warm and soft indoor light, they have a glazed wall that overlooks the vegetation. On the floor a circular glazed opening allows you to see from above the world below, separated from the quiet of the room.
As mentioned above we gave a lot of importance in the project to natural features trying to integrate it to the maximum with the designed buildings especially with regard to personal meditation areas fully open to existing natural trees with the large glazed windows of the contemplation Huts. The green then was integrated into the design of the inner courtyard with Zen garden and the greenhouse between the two buildings for people staying overnight. We also used large windows as curtain walls to facilitate transparency and the passage of natural light by creating open views of the garden. The succession of elevated walkways in the entire architectural complex facilitate views of the surrounding natural environment.
We have included at the main entrance of the architectural complex a Tower as the tallest building and symbol of public attraction.
The building intended to house the workshops has been conceived as a series of open spaces that occupy each floor of the structure, so as to be able to organize the space according to the needs that arise from time to time.
On the ground floor there is a reception for information regarding the workshops and more generally the activities of the whole centre.
The external walls are fully glazed, to ensure adequate lighting to the entire surface. The entire structure has been covered with wooden slats, partly to attenuate the glare of sunlight, but also to make the cubic volume of the building more organic and open to the public with its semi-transparency.