London architects Office for Architectural Culture has won a major project in China, working with London landscape architect David Blackwood Murray
The project, won in competition, is for the Famen Zen Temple Meditation Centre near the historic city of Xi’an. It is on the site of the 1,850 year old Famen Buddhist Temple, one of the only temple’s in the world to have preserved a finger-bone relic of the Buddha. As a result, it is considered a holy place by Buddhists and around one million people make a pilgrimage to the site each year.
The project site area is 1,250,000 sqm and the total building floor area is approximately 300,000 sqm. It includes the 1km square ‘Eightfold Path Forest’, four museums, script-copy halls, several large venues for meditation activities, a Buddhist academy, an art complex, a music complex, a concert hall, a 5-star Zen-theme boutique hotel and a 5-star hotel, and over a thousand meditation lodges.
Charles Phu of Office for Architectural Culture described the project as ‘ a gallery of landscape elements, an exhibition of interwoven themes and events which help people purity minds and learn from the law of nature – Buddhism’s Three Dharma Seals: impermanence, non-self-ness and suffer-to-enlightenment. It is a celebration of Nature in harmony with Man’.
David Blackwood Murray worked for Lovejoy from 1978, becoming first creative director and then chairman of the London office. The practice was taken over by Capita in 2009 and, after two years as senior design director, he left to set up his own studio.
Glasgow-based consultant City Design is also working on the project.