Daming Lake Meditation Centre : a Chinese meditation retreat centre in central Jinan
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Citation:Wang, S. (2016). Daming Lake Meditation Centre : a Chinese meditation retreat centre in central Jinan. Explanatory Document. An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture Professional, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3630
With the quick development of China’s society and economy, it has become evident that people in many communities are experiencing psychological stress. With intense competitive pressure and unaffordable real estate many people find that the pace of living is too fast. Not only physical needs, but also spiritual needs are becoming greater as living standards improve. Setting aside religious beliefs, many Chinese people are seeking their own ways to relieve stress. A building is not only ‘a machine for living in.’ It is also a combination of technology as well as visual art that can bring spiritual sustenance, provide a story that can be talk about, and be a cultural history recorder. Architecture, as a medium, can create a sense of peace, bringing calm and quietening the heart in a way that embodies an expression of the sacred for the people who enter. The Chinese-style meditation centre in this research project explores possible ways of creating several relaxing spaces to reduce the stress of daily living for people who are under pressure and looking for an outlet. It is a retreat located in the hustle and bustle of Jinan’s city centre, with the purpose of providing a comfortable space for meditation and outdoor activities.There is an indoor workshop, a vegetarian restaurant and a tea-house. In such a place, through study, meeting friends and meditating, people can completely relax their bodies, minds and souls. My research draws on literature concerning not only architectural form but also the cultures of meditation in different regions and religions. Among other references, Laci Spencer’s Flotation: A Guide for Sensory Deprivation, Relaxation, & Isolation Tanks, Rudolf Stegers’ Sacred Buildings: A Design Manual and Tan Hock Beng’s Tropical Retreats were analysed, alongside literature on the creation of a sacred building environment. Models and drawings have been used to explain the concepts that make a place of meditation within the centre. The result is a space more like an activity centre, with a more humane and accepting view of the world than a religious building. It would be possible to extend the use of this architectural form in China to create other ‘Chinese Decompression Devices’ – meditation centres. In addition, it may be possible to promote this form of Chinese retreat internationally, for anyone who is interested in Chinese culture or who wants to achieve inner peace.