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Water Moon Monastery Taipei, Taiwan

Kris Yao | Artech, Taipei and Shanghai

Master Sheng Yen, the founder of the Monastery and Dharma Drum Buddhist Group, envisioned the temple to be a reflection of a flower in space and moon in water.
Nestled in the vast Guandu plain facing the Keelung River with the Datun Mountain as its backdrop, the design of the space takes advantage of its natural surroundings. This spiritual and tranquil space composes two walls of different heights as a buffer from the outside expressway and one enters the complex (with the shrine sited at the far end) along an 80-meter long lotus pond.
The oversized colonnades and flowing golden drapes cast their reflections on the pond and creates a scene of illusory quality, whereas on the west side of the shrine, a massive wooden wall is carved with the ’Heart Sutra‘ in Chinese characters which infuses an aura of culture and spirituality when the lights shine through these carved-out characters.
Outside the long corridor, the characters of the ’Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra‘are etched on the prefabricated GRC panels and provide additional religious meaning while functioning as sunshades.
Concrete forms the main construction material, rendering the minimal approach to color and form of the space, thus, conveying the spirit of Zen Buddhism.