located within a forest by the riverside in hebei, china, this buddhist shrine is developed by archstudio as a place for meditation, contemplation and satisfying needs of daily life.
located within a forest by the riverside in hebei, china, this buddhist shrine is developed by archstudio as a place for meditation, contemplation and satisfying needs of daily life. the design began by noticing a mound along the river, behind which is a great stretch of open fields and sporadic greenhouses. from that point on, the architects wished to create a connection between building and nature by hiding the shrine right under the mound. in that sense, the place gains a ‘power of perception – where trees, water, Buddha and human coexist’.
archstudio has conceived the plan of the shrine like branches extending under the existing forest. even more, all trees on site have been maintained and respected by constructing carefully around their trunks. the final result is a building with five independent yet continuous spaces created by two axis – one going north-south and the other along the river.
the ‘branches’ represent five spaces of different functions – entrance, buddhist meditation room, tea room, living room and bathroom – that ultimately create a strolling-style experience. the entrance faces two trees, under which people need to walk into the building through a narrow path. on the other hand, the shrine is against the wall and facing the water, where light and shadow get through the skylight and flow into the interior space along the curved wall, exaggerating the light of Buddha. meanwhile, the tea room opens completely to the pool which is filled with lotus and trees on both sides, creating a fun tea tasting and sight-viewing. finally, the lounge is separated from other spaces by a bamboo courtyard.
the relationship with nature further extends to the use of materials, particularly integral concreting in walls and roofing. the concrete framework is pieced together with pine strips of 3 cm width; in this way, natural wood grain and vertical textures are impressed on the interior surface to create a soft and warm feeling against the cold materials. finally, a custom-made built-in-furniture is built with wood strips, whose grey wood grain is a little different from the concrete walls.