Zen - Christianity: A useful dialogue?

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Smith, Michael
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Schnoor, Christoph
Francis, Kerry
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Japanese architecture
monastic architecture
architectural cultures
Christchurch (N.Z.)
New Zealand
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Smith, M. (2011). Zen - Christianity: A useful dialogue? (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1992
This is an investigation into the possibility of learning from different architectural cultures. Specifically, this project investigates selected Japanese architectural principles. Relevant principles are obtained and applied to a New Zealand context. The project develops a design for a Cistercian monastery to be built within the Christchurch central business district (C.B.D.) area. Japanese architectural principles include benefits of power and appeal with respect to aesthetics and as solutions to architectural problems. This project focuses on appropriate Japanese architectural principles such as ma/oku/miegakure (space, time and glimpse), light and shadow, connection with nature, layering, refinement and the design of a city site. Additionally it analyses the aspects of the work of Tadao Ando because of his specific architectural position. The aim is to create an unfamiliar piece of architecture in which new/lost ways of designing can be portrayed and exemplified. The (Christian) Cistercian monastic order has been selected because of its closeness to Japanese Buddhist architectural principles in their minimalist refined approaches and meditative spirit. The monastic typology acts as a precedent in which the aforementioned Japanese architectural principles could be used within a typology with which New Zealand is unfamiliar. The project involves the design of a Cistercian monastery based upon traditional functions and requirements. The monastic ideal of seclusion is used in the design of a trauma centre to be established in Christchurch to facilitate the mental healing of victims traumatised by the recent Christchurch earthquakes. This function adheres to past requirements of Cistercian monastic orders to help create a revenue stream. Christchurch City has been selected due to the current lack of integration between the Avon River and surrounding buildings; this project presents ideas on ways to change this. Because the selected site is located in Christchurch, the building’s resilience must be looked at to ensure an outcome that is suited to the significant and particular environmental factors of that city. The process of design exploration uses different methods in order to create a cumulative synthesis of research by, for and into design. This provides an architectural resonance with all required encompassing ideas. The explanatory document describes the formal and theoretical processes taken in response to the research question.
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