A Buddhist retreat in the Suffolk countryside has reopened, designed by Walters & Cohen Architects. Potash Farm is home to Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre; capacity has been increased from 34 to 60, accessibility improved and the centre now includes a glittering new shrine room. While the retreat is run by the London Buddhist Centre, it is also used for carers on respite and those dealing with issues such as stress, addiction and anxiety. It is the first time in the UK a new building has been designed specifically around the Buddhist practice as opposed to reusing existing buildings. Set in a rural area of natural beauty, the new building is sensitive to its surroundings and, as such, the design follows the Buddhist principle of 'doing the least harm', by minimising the impact on the environment, and building on the footprint of existing outbuildings. This has been achieved by Walters & Cohen working closely with environmental engineers Skelly and Couch, and through the use of simple materials that provide a balance between modesty and reverence for the spiritual aspects of the centre, the shrine room and associated courtyards.
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