We’ve built you a better ArchDaily. Learn more and let us know what you think. Send us your feedback »

Water-Moon Monastery / Artech Architects

© Jeffrey Cheng
© Jeffrey Cheng
  • Architects: Artech Architects
  • Location: Taipei, Taiwan
  • Architect in Charge: Kris Yao
  • Design Team: Hua-Yi Chang、Kuo-Lung Lee、Wen-Li Liu、Jen-Ying Kuo、Yvonne Lee、Chin Tai、Jun-Ren Chou、Yi-Heng Lin、David Chang
  • Area: 8422.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Jeffrey Cheng

© Jeffrey Cheng © Jeffrey Cheng © Jeffrey Cheng © Jeffrey Cheng

© Jeffrey Cheng
© Jeffrey Cheng
  • Clients: Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Foundation
  • Structural : Jae-Lien International Engineering Consultants
  • Plumbing, Electrical & Fire : Majestic Electrical Engineers Office
  • HVAC: I. S. Lin & Associates Consulting Engineers
  • Landscape : CNHW Planning & Design Consultants
  • Civil: Sino Geotechnology, Inc
  • Contractor: Fu-Chu General Contractor Co., Ltd
  • Building Structure: Steel Frame Structure, Reinforced Concrete
  • Materials: Architectural Concrete, Teakwood, Limestone, Glass
  • Site Area: 27,936 m2
  • Lot Coverage Area: 3,386.41 m2
© Jeffrey Cheng
© Jeffrey Cheng

 “This monastery shall be ‘Flower in space and Moon in water’.” --- Master Shenyen 

© Jeffrey Cheng
© Jeffrey Cheng

When asked of what his vision for the future temple would be, Master Sheng Yen, the founder of the Monastery and Dharma Drum Buddhist Group, answered that he “sees” the temple in his meditation dhyana, “It is a Flower in Space, Moon in Water,” he said. “Let’s name it the Water-Moon Monastery”. Thus began the Water-Moon Monastery. Situated on the vast Guandu plain, facing the Keelung River and with the Datun Mountain as its backdrop, the design takes advantage of its natural surroundings and strives to build a tranquil spiritual place. 

© Jeffrey Cheng
© Jeffrey Cheng

After passing through two walls of different heights that serve as buffer from the expressway outside, upon entering the temple, visitors face the view of the Main Hall that sits at the far end of a 80-meter long lotus pond. The reflections on the pond of the over-sized colonnades and the flowing golden drapes in between create a scene of illusory quality. Using architectural concrete as the main material, the design reduces the color and form to a minimum, conveying the spirit of Zen Buddhism. 

© Jeffrey Cheng
© Jeffrey Cheng

The lower part of the Grand Hall is transparent, giving it an impression of its upper wooden “box” being suspended in the air. On the west side of the Grand Hall, a massive wooden wall is carved with the famous “Heart Sutra” in Chinese characters. As the lights shine through the carved-out characters, the space is infused with an aura of culture and spirituality. Outside the long corridor, the characters of the “Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra” are cast void on the prefabricated GRC panels, providing additional religious meaning while functioning as sunshades. When the scripture is imprinted onto the interior surface by the sunlight, it is as if the Buddha’s teaching, in an unspoken manner, is revealed.

© Jeffrey Cheng
© Jeffrey Cheng
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"Water-Moon Monastery / Artech Architects" 11 Feb 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/330486/water-moon-monastery-artech-architects/>