Meant to encourage more austere worship for Buddhists, this stone shelter in a Vietnam city park was designed by a21studio – the firm behind the 2014 Planet Creating of the Year .
Ho Chi Minh-based a21studio – whose colourful community centre design and style won the leading prize at last year’s World Architecture Festival – built the Pagoda to offer an alternative to the more elaborate temples of Nha Trang, a city on Vietnam’s coastline.
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The architects feel these grand temples are superfluous and contrary to the ethos of the religion, so needed to generate a pared-back place of worship far more linked to the natural surroundings.
“Buddhism is struggling to adapt to present day society,” said the team. “Buddhists, presently, prefer residing in magnificent temples and monuments.”
“As Buddhists, we are questioning regardless of whether it is as well difficult to renounce conveniences and comforts in the contemporary life.”
The small 2.three- by 3-metre pavilion consists of a granite stone slab mounted on pillars created from twisted reinforced-steel rods.
A set of craggy stone steps lead up a rocky slope to the structure, which sits in a clearing amongst a patch of trees. It is open on all sides to the elements and has a floor of wild flowers and grasses.
Guests have to crouch to move beneath the shelter of the canopy, where a solitary candle rests on a ceramic saucer.
“Folks normally have to bend when they are getting into a pagoda in Asia,” explained studio architect Toan Nghiem. “Which is a classic way, like you are displaying your respect.”
In accordance to the architects, the structure is inspired by the sheltering canopy of the sacred Bodhi Tree – under which Buddhist founder Siddhartha Gautama – the Buddha – is explained to have attained enlightenment via meditation in the 6th century BC.
“We made a pagoda, a location dedicated to the spirit, the place consumers are not driven by the wants and comforts of lifestyle, as animals residing amongst nature,” added the staff.
Photography is by the architects.