When Mies van der Rohe uttered those famous words “less is more”, he was surely speaking of projects like the Waterside Buddhist Shrine, designed by ARCHSTUDIO. The building, located in Tangshan, just east of Beijing, is proof that powerful spaces can be created within the simplest of structures. Through carefully selected materials and meticulous detailing, ARCHSTUDIO has created a building well worthy of being named one of our Projects of the Year as part of the 2018 A+Awards.
Explore the beautiful concrete caverns of the Waterside Buddhist Shrine in the latest of our exclusive videos tours and interviews with 2018’s most talented architects, created by our friends at Plane—Site:
“As one of the most important spiritual qualities of Buddhism is coexisting harmoniously and complying with nature, we hoped to express this kind of spirit through the project,“ explained Han Wenqiang, Founder and Architect at ARCHSTUDIO.
The firm’s solution was to compose a building that frames the surrounding landscape rather than dominating it. Concrete, glass and terrazzo were combined to magical effect beneath the hillside, creating a series of serene spaces for quiet reflection and contemplation.
“When looking from the outside, the building is a mound, a typical earth-sheltered architecture,” said Han. “Once you enter the building, you can see that the building is divided into several parts that point out to five different directions. In addition to the space to worship the Buddha, we designed a place to drink tea, a place to rest and a bathroom, all within this small Buddhist shrine.” The wide variety of spaces within the shrine are concealed from above, marked only by a series of apertures cut into the hillside.
“The architecture has a concrete structure with flowing interiors,” described the architect. “Wood grain from the form work is impressed on the surface of the concrete walls, creating a soft, warm feeling of intimacy.” These textured surfaces contrast with the smooth terrazzo floors and clean lines of glazing, resulting in an unparalleled atmosphere of serenity.
In addition to the Waterside Buddhist Shrine by ARCHSTUDIO, three further Projects of the Year have been given Special Honoree A+Awards this year; they are:
Foro Boca Concert Hall by Rojkind Arquitectos
Institute for Contemporary Art VCU by Steven Holl Architects
These projects demonstrate extraordinary contributions to the profession across the globe, highlighting buildings that champion architecture’s potential to positively impact everyday life. Stay tuned for videos and articles on all of these in the coming weeks!
Explore all the winners and finalists from the sixth annual A+Awards, featuring incredible projects by firms from all over the world: