Saturday, 10 April 2010

Architectural Studio 3: Designing a Shrine

The objective of this task if for students to investigate the origins of belief systems and to analyse their impact and validity as a means of generating architectural concepts.
Buddhism & Hinduism Shrine
Design concept: -A believers belief on the journey of life. Ultimately, it is the journey to enlightenment
The slanted exterior wall would raise the awareness of how small we are in the presence of God. This feeling can be related to how someone would feel when visiting a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple where there would be various Gods sitting on the fa├žade of the structure looking down upon the worshippers. This is an interpretation for it to be more accepted to the public who may not be Buddhists or Hindus to actually approach the shrine to better understand it.
The interior being partly visible from certain angles due to the slits aims to raise the curiousity of the public to approach it. When walking around it, the overpowering shadows being casted upon those who walk around it would also be a call to both the Buddhist and Hindu worshipper to leave the worldly belongings to seek the truth to the enlightenment.

The journey towards the centre of the shrine may not be as pleasant due to these feelings, this build up on such emotions will only help to enhance the feeling of satisfaction once passed this claustrophobic alley and into the structure where one can finally see the full picture inside.

The repetition of square symbolizes the rhythm which represents the cycle of life- Reincarnation. Square becomes bigger and bigger- represent the level of awakening/ self realization.

Four sides represent
  • Buddhism- four Noble Truths- Suffering, Karma, Rebirth, Nirvana
  • Hinduism- "Brahmacharya", "Grihastha", "Vanaprastha", "Sannyasa"
Plan view: rippling effect symbolizes the development a compassionate heart to help all beings (a Mahayana belief which has been practiced mostly by Malaysian, NOT Theravada)

Vary in riser- becomes easier and easier to step up to the nirvana- such act of walking up steps with higher riser would require one to slightly tilt one's head down (bowing) – be humble before one sees the enlightenment

The stained glass at the middle of the inverted pyramid enables the public to experience being floating in the middle of structure where there the ground level represents the earthly life- what they do at this stage decides their afterlife (nirvana & hell)- KARMA

Harry Purwanto Tjoe
Saw Jia Jian


Brian said...

i must say it's seriously brilliant. top-notch idea and execution. and that wraps it all up. :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome. Good interpretation. Simple form with strong concept. Look at BIG architect's projects might help you in the future project. Good job.

C said...

Good job!The design and the space does express the concept. But In my opinion, i am just curious about what they will gain after this journey of enlightenment?how does the shrine benefit or influence their life which is not just in poetic way.

lohlohloh said...

Love the idea.Although i feel the meaning is a bit literal and requires further development to strengthen the idea.It looks a bit like an inverted ziggurat at the moment. Is it a relevant to combine both Hinduism and Buddhism, it is a bit too much compared to a single solid idea.Less is more.

Anonymous said...

I really like the part where you design the steps in variation...
Makes the whole design a whole lot more sensitive towards the respective religions...
Really good proposal :)

aa.L said...

oh good job guys!
A simple concept that is executed brilliantly i must say.
Not sure if this project is meant to be of such a small scale as the human in the model suggests, but overall, really like this interpretation of the inverted pyramid. Form wise, looks awesome, futuristic almost. reckon it looks like the starship "Enterprise" from Startrek ;D

Aaron Lau

EdChew said...

Buddha wasn't just a good spiritual leader, he was also a good "doctor".

The Buddha presented the Four Noble Truths (FNT) as a diagnosis for the human mental condition. If you look thoughtfully on the FNT, you'd see its resemblance to medical diagnosis, generally practiced by medical practitioners:

1) Identify the disease or symptoms;
2) Find the cause of the disease (diagnosis;
3) Predict the outcome of the disease (prognosis); and
4) Prescribe the method of treatment.

By the way, you guys got two out of the four truths wrong. I don't have to tell you guys what FNT are. Wikipedia is around. :-)

It's very hard to find an English word for dukkha; unsatisfactoriness seems a much better word to describe dukkha than suffering.

I better not say much about the shrine. It looks good to me.

"Sometimes architecture is better left unspoken." -- EdChew

Anonymous said...

all in all its a good interpretation of the holy and us. but becareful when you're trying to justify your design that sometimes you over dose it with representations (ie the walls representing such and such). a wall is a wall is a wall, it doesnt have to be justified in ways that are "intangible". the aisles in churches serves as passages when there is a sermon, it doesn't have to have meanings. the people standing there probably wouldnt understand what the walls mean, they would just feel enlightened. besides that, it looks like a good place to connect to the heavens. kudos.

Joo said...

Good job on the religous interpretation and seemed like a lot of researches have been done! However, like said above, there seems to be too much justifications going on.

Perhaps those are attempts to convince people that everything has a meaning behind. But more often it is one big, simple and original idea that can be brought out more clearly and effectively compared to several smaller ones which act as supports cause they can sound quite fishy at times.

Really like the presentation method though! Professionally done. (=

J.J Saw said...

Thanks for all the comments and thoughts. Well, the scale of this assignment is actually on a relatively small scale, it has no chosen site for it yet as it is a 2 week long assignment.

I am rather fascinated by the work produced by BIG architect, i often view them as inspirations as to how far one can go from conventional and into the funky and crazy side.

Our intention on this shrine was for all, i mean even non believers to actually experience being in a temple without actually being in one, as this is a shrine, we also would like to portray to the public of how these two religions are able to come together harmoniously without compromising either one's belief. This is very much possible to achieve as both religions have very similar philosophies.

If asked how this shrine would benefit the people not in a poetic way, i'm thinking is all about bringing people together to this one space and hopefully breaking their perceptions on these two religions that people often view as being full of "in a way scary" statues, and actually providing stairs that can also function as sitting areas - social area and meditating area.

Thanks! Mr. Edward, haha, thanks for the pointers. I like the way of how you describe the Buddha as the four noble truths itself. Its a brilliant description of how religion affects us from even in the very fundamental philosophies to the journey of life itself.

Thanks again for the thought of how a wall is still a wall and that it is not always necessary to justify everything. I would say the same for the last comment. When designing this shrine, i guess we wanted to enrich it with how different people would view it differently, and this may have backfired, as it seems like there are too many unclear ideas behind the small ones. I'll shall be more careful with that. =)

Thanks everyone again for the comments! really appreciate it all.

KS said...

wow, a very popular post~

what's been said above are pretty much true. "wall is a wall is a wall" lol. Having so many justifications, you really don't need to state them all, n yes it backfired. Tell only what is most important to you, others have their rights to imagine further. Or surprise them if they ever ask. Your job is done when viewers unconsciously breath out a 'nice...'

Ian, same problem with my studio3 poem-project, it is confined to a play-ground scale. So small! I don't think I will feel more than 30% if I ever visit this. Y not make it 3-times larger?? And I don't hope to see an entrance signboard with so many explainations cuz it kills my imagination. If there's no flaw in the brief, then prob it's the flaw of this design?

Anyhow, I do really love the sensitivity shown throughout the details, especially in the variable degrees of risers (which simply feels good without explaination) and the stained glass part.

Oh lastly, I suggest you can do more montages...put it into whatever context, exemplify the atmosphere you're aiming at using visuals, not texts.

Good job.

ian ng said...

"If there's no flaw in the brief, then prob it's the flaw of this design?"

Much as I'd like to say it's the former, I'm afraid I have to be honest and admit it's the latter. Put it down to the early attempts of talented designers. All it needed was the extra step--break the rules of the brief and justify it by saying that genius demands it. Hehe ! (me, as usual) It needs to be at least as tall as the lower base of Angkor Wat to be effective. After all, it alludes to being an inverted Angkor Wat!

The curved step profile is an absolute stroke of inspired brilliance---sexy and symbolic. Now what more powerful a concoction can you get than sex and religion. (And that's not being funny.)

The fact that Gautama Buddha was an ex-Hindu should not escape the astute connoisseur of these Siamese Twins of eastern mysticism.

Jolly Good Work, Harry & JJ!, I din mean that u 2 are the twins:)

Richard Lee said...

"Sometimes architecture is better left unspoken." -- EdChew

well said...

and i dont need to read your text.. your architecture speaks for itself.. it tells a story without u even having to be there to tell it..

but it looks like ur talking killed it by talking too much, judging from what majority of the comments say...

but coming from someone who didnt bother to read all ur text, i think i am impressed.. it has a strong form.. u have engaging presentation skills.. and u know how to sell ur design.. if it is a table piece, i would definitely buy it.. purely becos it is that amusing...

i like it that u took a common form, and gave it that slight twist that made it a totally different thing.. i like the subtlety.. i like the cheekiness..

i disagree that BIG is a good reference for you.. i find that their work is rather ambigious and they are the kind of stuff u would get a D for in studio (altho i must admit that they have one or two good ones)

becos of the deep cultural and spiritual inclination of the theme of this semester - religion, i would rather u look at maya lin..

the library has a video on her, go watch it... she has a amazing ability to create simple sculptural forms that touches ppl's heart so much that they cry..

u will go far.. keep it up

Thomas Y. said...

Previously posts most people had been criticising your work for the excessive justification. In my opinion, a proper justification should come with evidence or anything that convinces anyone of what you are trying to do.

Both religions with such an old history, perhaps some temples might attempt to portray your similar idea?