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Type:  Open-Ideas competition
Program: public space for meditation


Meditation in an undefined place


Modern public spaces are meant to provide an accessible and usable place for each human activity to unfold. Accessible and usable for everyone, within increasingly vast range of cultures the society is made of. Markets for the exchange of goods and services, plazas for social gathering, roads for circulation. However the question of spirituality is perhaps the most difficult to answer spatially. Once centralized, spirituality is now, as culture, exploded in a vast array of practices, and so is the modern space of spirituality: spread in many places with very little communication in between.

The goal of this project is, of course, not to question those differences, but rather to study the possibility of them finding a connection through space – the possibility of a common ground.

First, to refine our program, we must decide of a common activity:  among those spiritual practices we find meditation as a common activity – spoken or silent, regulated or deregulated, social or individual; meditation seems to be a necessary process to access the spiritual realm.

How do space and time influence the meditation process? Since each individual as its own spirituality, this question is to be left unanswered.

Conversely, how does meditation influence time and space? Again, since each individual as its own spirituality, this question is to be left unanswered.

As architects of such a place we want to organize space and time for meditation, but the space and time of meditation can take countless forms.

We want to organize what we cannot define, nor predict. Answer the unanswerable.

We face a paradox, and an architecture to meditate should be shaped by this paradox:

We must imagine a place that will serve the undefined process of mediation without interfere with it, and, on the contrary, that could be shaped by it.

We must design an undefined place.


Undefined boundaries


We do not choose a country or a city. We hope it could be anywhere.

We find a land large enough, we draw a circle, and that is our place. The circle is a limit for people to walk over and think “here we are”, for them to turn silent if they were joyful, or joyful if they were silent.

The circle is an undefined boundary, without angles, without a clear start or ending. One can get in and out anywhere, by plan or by chance; or walk round and round indefinitely, like in cloister, because there is no landmark to mark the start of every turn.


Undefined movements


Because people will have to walk within the land to find a place to meditate, or simply walk as a way to meditate, our land must be a place of undefined movement.

We plant trees. A tall veil covering our land, giving a sense of depth and mystery to the horizon, and volume to the hills and valleys.

Like the man made forests in Europe, the trees are placed at regular intervals. A pattern defined only by its neutrality, that is, undefined in terms of directions or events.  Pure rhythm inside which the walker can trace its own paths, its own territories. …or perhaps trace nothing at all. The walker can simply stop to contemplate this land empty of events, this space of permanence in which there is not time but the time of the mind.