this hazy “botanical meditation center” by HAS brings serenity to the city
encourage “slow living” in an urban context
HAS design and research complements this ethereal Botanica meditation center located on the outskirts of historic Hefei, a city in China that has recently experienced rapid development and population growth. As the architects note, ‘This kind of development phenomenon occurs not only in Hefei, but also in all Chinese metropolitan cities, reflecting the need for Chinese people to adapt and cooperate with the rhythm of work and life under the rapid development that happened in a short time..’
The atmosphere of the Botanica Meditation Center is influenced by the clients’ incomparable love for plant life. In keeping with the spirit of the client’s wishes, the botanical garden is open to the public and can offer community residents classes in meditation, yoga, tai chi and other spiritual training to spread the aesthetic concept of a “slow life”.
pictures of Yu Bai
the ephemeral atmosphere created by an irrigation system
During the early stages of the project, architects conducted extensive research into the requirements of a traditional botanical garden and discovered that they require huge water reservoirs. The team explains: ‘Although they can be used as watering systems for botanical gardens, they are spatially separated into two systems: plants and equipment..’
Inspired by conventional systems, the HAS team proposed an inversion. While a traditional equipment water reservoir is usually hidden underground, the Botanical Meditation Center celebrates the structure, expressing it in travertine as a multifunctional meditation space.
Then, an “extended” underground network brings water to every corner of the botanical garden in the form of an ephemeral mist. This sprawling, misty sprinkler system enhances the unique, poetic space with a dreamlike atmosphere, reflecting the ritualistic meaning of meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi.
the botanica meditation center ecosystem has designed
The HAS-designed Botanica Meditation Center exhibits a “calm and rich sense of landscape hierarchy”. Early in the morning, the garden presents a natural resting place for visitors and animals, including local insects, birds and squirrels. In the afternoon, the mist will automatically activate to water the plants and generate the cool and dreamlike oasis of the bustling city.
The designers comment: ‘All of these elements are added to simulate the scene of morning mist surrounding Emerald Lake around the site and to provide a spiritually open place for meditation..
reproducing naturally eroded travertine
The facade material of the small meditative structure as well as the landscape stone are all from the local travertine of Hefei. Hundreds of stones had been hand-beaten by local craftsmen to create their distinct jagged edges, suggesting they had been naturally eroded by their hazy backdrop over time.
The HAS team continues: ‘The Botanica meditation center, which can provide a large amount of water mist irrigation system, not only brings a fresh micro-ecosystem to the environment, but its hidden shape allows residents to have a dramatic and extraordinary experience. morning, afternoon and night..’