The Architecture of Meditation and Community Spaces
Far more than just a place for wealthy stressed-out city folk to flee in order to rest and recharge, there are certain meditation centres that have been designed to enhance their communities. From incredibly simplistic installations to fully-immersive meditation and learning centres, the positive social impact of a calming and safe meditation space is encouraged worldwide.
"Meditation Space" by T. Ando
Tadao Ando’s Meditation Space symbolizes peace in memory of the Hiroshima bombings. Image source
Japanese architect Tadao Ando was commissioned by UNESCO to design a meditation space to commemorate the 50th anniversary of UNESCO, which coincided with the architect’s 76th birthday. He created a cylindrical, concrete structure, built into the heart of UNESCO headquarters. The meditation space symbolizes peace and is made from granite that was irradiated during the Hiroshima bomb in 1945 (which had been decontaminated before installation).
The meditation space was designed to invite visitors to reflect on the horror of Hiroshima and meditate on the destructive power of humankind. The visitor can cross the meditation space without opening any doors, symbolizing the passage from light to shadow.
“One has to know how to go beyond the differences of race, religion or nationality in order to respect the idea of and the way of being of individuals belonging to different cultures and societies. With this cramped space, I attempted to express peaceful cohabitation on Earth,” explains Ando.
The Meditation and Indigenous Centre at Bentleigh Secondary College
The Meditation and Indinenouse Centre at Bentleigh Secondary College focuses on teaching sustainability, culture and mindfulness meditation. Image source
Designed by architects dwpsuters and built by Dzine Construction Group, the Meditation and Indinenouse Centre at Bentleigh Secondary College was created to educate students about the environment and sustainable design. With sustainability as its core focus, the centre was built from 85% renewable timber with QUANTEC Wood Preservative was chosen to coat the silvertop ash cladding for the finish.
Set in the schools Moorooboon wetland and forest landscape, the building acts as a piece of furniture – something to be sat in, on and around – whist the students engage with the natural surrounds and a curriculum focused on the environment, indigenous culture and mindfulness meditation.
International Meditation Centre - Nicolas Tye Architects
Nicolas Tye Architects created a contemporary space within a forest environment. Image source
Located in Essex, east of London, the International Meditation Centre from Nicolas Tye Architects explores efficiency of space, while at the same time creating a contemporary design with a forest environment.
The International Meditation Centre maximises the use of natural light to create a calming meditation space. Image source
The centre was designed as three main zones, the entrance rooms, the meditation hall, and the relics. In order to take in as much natural light as possible, the architects integrated various methods of glazing treatments to maintain privacy, and incorporated glazed “links” and circular apertures to the roof and rear elevation. This ensures that the interior of the building comes “alive with light” at all times of the day.
Modern Meditation Hut Forest Pond House by TDO Architecture
A combination of a meditation space and child’s den, the hut plays with space and shadows to create a unique environment. Image source
This modern meditation hut create by TDO Architecture is located in rural Hampshire in the UK. The Forest Pond House creates a dramatic transition between the dense shadows of the forest and the bright sunshine that reflects off the pond. Designed to act equally well as a space for meditation and a den for children, the Forest Pond House has a timber frame structure that is finished in plywood, copper, and glass.
The meditation hut features dark elevations that serves as blackboards, for adults and children to draw or write on. It also has a rising floor and a falling ceiling, shrinking one corner down and, as a result, giving the impression of shrinking to the size of a child.
Blue meditation point in Romania
The Blue Meditation Point balances disc on a fallen tree, connecting visitors with nature. Image source
Created by Gergő and Péter Batizi-Pócsi of Batlab architects, with Bence Pásztor of Studio Nomad, ‘Blue Meditation Point’ was part of the noise workshop held in Translyvania, Romania.
The Blue Meditation Point is a 4 meter disc that acts to draw attention to the neglected part of the ika stream. The cantilevered wooden disc is placed on a fallen tree, which gives the piece a slight angle pointing towards the stream. The structure hand over the stream and provides an intimate connection between the visitor and nature.
In an increasingly chaotic world, finding a moment of silence is hard to come by. For the Bee Breeders Silent Meditation Forest Cabins architecture competition, participants are invited to create a space where guests can “unplug” from the constant noise and distractions of the technological world, and focus on quiet reflection with a simple cup of tea.
Bee Breeders architecture competition organisers are asking participants to create designs for a silent meditation cabin that could be replicated in any number of spots throughout the forest. The cabin’s main purpose is to help guests enjoy silent meditation, where the only sounds they would hear would be the sounds of nature.
With winning designs being considered for construction - and Latvia’s reputation as one of the greenest countries in Europe - projects should have the potential to become a regional example of green building practice, focusing on eco-friendly and cost-effective building techniques.