Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery Meditation Centre
The Meditation Centre is a five-storey building within the Kong Meng San Monastery in Singapore and the design intent was to create a space of calm and tranquility for the advancement of well-being through meditation.
As a single volume mass, the Meditation Centre bears a formal aesthetic akin to the plan of traditional Chinese temples. The Centre has also been designed as an energy efficient building compatible with the local tropical climate, where all circulation spaces and lobbies are naturally ventilated. In order to appeal to the secular general public, a contemporary approach to the Meditation Centre was taken by reimagining Chinese temple architecture with only subtle allusions to traditional forms and religious icons.
The building façade is a dense, porous screen of vertical rods of various hues and different diameters that emulate a thick bamboo grove and light and shadow interplay to create visual density and layering. From the perimeter of the building into the central meditation hall, dark shadows play against the white walls and mark the beginning of the journey towards spirituality and well-being. Beyond this, the eye is drawn upwards by the verticality of the façade towards the contrasting, curved and sweeping lines of the upturned eaves in the roof, similar to traditional Chinese roofs on nearby buildings.
The Centre also adheres to progressive, environmentally sustainable design principles. On every floor, key spaces such as the meditation hall or library are air- conditioned, while service areas such as locker rooms, toilets and staircases flank both sides of the main space, partly as an acoustic shield but also as an insulating element from the strong tropical sun.
The Centre heralds a new era of architecture in Singapore, one that is adaptive and responsive to its context, time and locale.
Lighting: Bizlink Associates. Finishes: Rice Field Pte Ltd, Contract Image, Prospec Surfaces, Prospec Surfaces. Fittings & Fixtures: W. Atelier Inc Toilet, Prospec Surfaces, Pyrolink.
Photography: Albert Lim KS