Triratna News

Metta Vihara warmly received by local architects and residents

On Mon, 12 November, 2012 - 08:44
lokabandhu's picture
Jan Deckers writes from the Netherlands with news of Metta Vihara, Triratna’s first-ever purpose-built retreat centre in Hengstdijk, near the Belgian border. It’s been attracting the attention of the local architects community, and he says - “Recently our new Retreat Centre was reviewed in two English language magazines, Dezeen and Arch Daily - the world’s most visited architecture website, where they explain the philosophy of the project and publish great pictures of this exceptional building”. The reviews offer a window into the thinking behind the design - how DOES one design a Buddhist retreat centre in the modern West?

“What we wanted was an aesthetic that was beautiful but not too comfortable,” architect Peter van Assche told Dezeen. “The reason people go to the meditation centre is not to feel cosy – they want to go deeper, to sense something that is not too obvious. The feeling of the building should express this.”

The architects added: “The building has been warmly received by local residents, as evident in a conversation we heard between two passing cyclists: ‘This new cowshed looks really good, but why does it have so many windows?’” Perhaps the answer lies in another quote from the architects - “Form and materials used in the centre relate to the rural vernacular building, but used in a new and fresh way…”

Metta Vihara now offers a full programme of retreats, details on its website at
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