场地 | The Site
▼禅修馆室内，水体与木材构成的静谧空间，the interior view of the Meditation Space which is made of water and wood, creating a peace atmosphere
In the suburb of Cangzhou, the project is located in a residential community adjacent to a natural wetland. The commission is to transform a series of retail space into a meditation space. The facility is planned to hold Zen meditation, yoga and other related activities, providing the local resident with a tranquil retreat inside the community.
A natural wetland lies in a close distance to the site. However, the community and the wetland are separated by a road. Meanwhile, the meditation space is situated on the commercial street of the community and facing an artificial landscape. This unnatural mismatch of spatial resources was the initial challenge that came to us. The original space of the single-storey shops was strongly defined by the linearly arranged columns and beams along the central axis, which was also the lowest part of the ceiling. This is the substantial condition with which the design was started.
矛盾与设计的开始 | Conflict and Chances
A space for meditation on a commercial street, it demands a certain degree of insulation against the noisy outer world yet a spiritual link to the natural situation – the wetland. This particular conflict triggers an introverted spatial strategy.
On the façade, the existing doors and windows are replaced with a set of steel construction between the columns of the original structure, which integrates niches for the air conditioners and the planting bed for bamboo facing the street.
▼禅修馆外立面，在原结构的柱跨间置入一套不锈钢窗套，并配以种植池，exterior view of the Meditation Space, inserting a set of steel construction between the columns of the original structure with the planting bed for bamboo
内外 | Inside and Outside
To arrange different meditation rooms and other serving space, a series of volumes is well-positioned in the space. This discrete organization structures the plan into a figure-ground relationship: a group of functional chambers forms an inside world, where the original framework of beams and columns is revealed with its substantial character; the in-between space forms a continuous “external space” of passages and a water hallway where the framework is not perceived.
▼禅修馆隧道般的入口，the tunnel-like entrance of the Meditation Space
In the inside world – the entrance space, the waiting room and wardrobe, the main hall and private classrooms, the restroom – each chamber is defined by its scale and spatial quality respectively. In the external space, the circuitous passage creates a spatial narrative before entering the meditation rooms.
▼从入口到玄关的线性空间，通过青石板铺设的步道到被侧光提亮的玄关，the linear space from the entrance to the foyer, a continuous stone-paved path with a side window leading to the front desk at the end
The experience is thus linearly linked via the external space. Starting with a tunnel-like door, different scenes are revealed along a continuous stone-paved path: first into a linear entrance passage with a side window at the end; turning left, then into the waiting room with a column dominating the space; passing the wardrobe, it turns left and then right, and finally into the water hallway illuminated by filtered natural light.
▼围绕柱梁布置的等候室，the waiting room with a column dominating the space
▼从更衣室通向水院的走廊，走廊充满柔和的自然光源，the corridor leading to the water hallway from the fitting room with soft natural light
▼通向水院的走廊，光线变得昏暗，the corridor leading to the water hallway with the dim light
▼进水院前转折，光线由暗至明，the space before entering the water hallway, the light becomes gradually bright
From the bright and noisy commercial street into the inside space till the water hallway, the light environment is well directed as a gradual transition between dim and bright. When arrived in the water hallway, the filtered natural light renders a tranquil outdoor atmosphere while the opened timber panels on the opposite side imply an outside surface character. The water hallway is thus perceived as an outdoor-like “external space”.
▼水院，阳光透过木质百叶窗照进室内空间，the water hallway with the natural light through the wood louver
▼水院回望，looking back from the water hallway
▼水院门扇中的双层腔体细节，details of the double-layer cavity in the door of the water hallway
▼水院通向主课室的走廊，可以看到室外的竹影，the corridor leading to the main hall from the water hallway, the bamboo reflects on the window
容器 | The Vessel
The basic order of the space is established by a figure-ground structure in the plan. This intention of creating an “in and out” relationship is further depicted in the section, in order to differentiate the character between “internal” and “external” space.
The main hall and private classrooms are enclosed by a double-layered cavity structure, hung by steel joist and cladded with wood panels with different dimensions. On the outside, the hanging surface ends with a horizontal eave at the bottom, creating an impression of a floating vessel. On the inside, the inclined louvred surface resonates with the columns and cantilevering beams to emphasized of a lifted vessel, which meanwhile provides the meditators with the feeling of being surrounded.
▼主课室，课室墙壁由轻钢龙骨和轻质木构建造而成，内侧倾斜，the main hall is enclosed by steel joist and cladded with wood panels with different dimensions whose inside surface is slant
▼主课室，百叶作为光的媒介，the main hall, the louver as the medium of light
▼主课室，室内墙壁采用木质贴面，the main hall whose interior surface is made of wood veneer
Due to different spatial relationships between the structure and the enclosure, each meditation room is defined with its unique character that matches its scenario: in the main hall for group class, the four columns and beams represent a character of “temple”, yet a single set of column and beams in the private rooms tends to become a kind of companion of the body while the meditator is alone.
▼小课室南，室内设置单组梁柱，the meditation room south with a single set of column and beams
▼小课室西，Meditation Room west
Through the horizontal gaps between wooden louvres, the soft natural light is reflected by the water into the main hall. The image that four huge columns rising from the water and the vessel being lifted together synthesizes an analogy, as though the whole meditation hall is a protective shelter for an archaeological site on the wetland, creating an imaginary “wetland” in meditation.
▼一层平面布置图，1F layout plan
▼等候室-更衣室-走廊剖面图，section of the waiting room, the fitting room and the corridor
▼水院天花板细部，details of the water yard ceiling
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