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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Temple
  4. Canada
  5. Shim-Sutcliffe Architects
  6. 2015
  7. Wong Dai Sin Temple / Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

Wong Dai Sin Temple / Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

  • 09:00 - 24 August, 2017
Wong Dai Sin Temple / Shim-Sutcliffe Architects
Wong Dai Sin Temple / Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Courtesy of Shim Sutcliffe Architects
Courtesy of Shim Sutcliffe Architects

© James Dow © James Dow © James Dow © James Dow + 15

  • Architects

  • Location

    Markham, ON, Canada
  • Lead Architects

    Brigitte Shim, Howard Sutcliffe
  • Project Leads

    Monica Leung, Andrew Kimber
  • Area

    3271.0 ft2
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

  • Structural

    Blackwell Structural Engineers
  • Mechanical

    BK Consulting Inc.
  • Electrical

    Dynamic Designs and Engineering Inc.
  • Civil

    Masongsong Associates Engineering Ltd.
  • Landscape

    NAK Design Group
  • Planning

    Bousfields Inc.
  • Planning Lawyers

    Sherman Brown
  • General Contractor

    Gillam Group Inc.
  • Concrete

    Verdi Alliance
  • Cladding

    Krypton Steel Inc.
  • Millwork

    Two Degrees North Inc.
  • Leather Work

    Kai Leather Product Design
  • Gold Leaf

    Jan’s Workshop
  • Custom Lighting

    Lighting Nelson & Garrett Inc.
  • Windows & Doors

    Tradewood Windows and Doors Inc.
  • More Specs Less Specs
© James Dow
© James Dow

Text description provided by the architects. The Wong Dai Sin Temple is a modern sacred space that houses a dynamic Taoist community committed to their inner spiritual development through the ancient physical practice of tai chi. The Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism needed a new spiritual home in suburban Toronto that had to reflect not only the heart and soul of their religious beliefs but also the modern contemporary world of their congregants. This place of worship is located on a major suburban arterial road surrounded by a shopping mall and cul de sac’s lined with oversized single family residential mansions.

© James Dow
© James Dow

This new temple building demonstrates asymmetry and counterbalance while maintaining its equilibrium much like a measured tai chi pose. The building’s south elevation is visible from the busy roadway to the south, reveals a major and minor cantilever supported on slender concrete piers. Stringent on-site parking requirements necessitated elevating the spiritual space above ground and providing surface parking below. This sacred space is supported on a two-way concrete slab integrated with seven rectangular poured in place structural concrete piers tied to a robust raft foundation.

© James Dow
© James Dow

The two-way bonded post tensioned concrete slab system with its 10.2m cantilever on the west hovers over the parking area which acts as the structural support for the sacred space above. A smaller 5.2 m cantilever on the east side of the post tensioned structure accommodates an exterior terrace over the parking below and serves as a counter balance for the longer cantilever to the west. Exposed concrete is also used for the two cantilevered staircases, on the north east and south east, which along with an elevator, provides access to the second floor worship space.

© James Dow
© James Dow

The building’s exterior on the north and south facades is clad in shaped weathering steel vertical fins that are used to control views from the inside looking out. Large vertical floor to ceiling window openings in the prayer space splay outward ensuring both natural light at the perimeter and good cross ventilation. The west and east elevations facing the neighbours are clad in large abstract panels of weathering steel ensuring privacy.

Section A
Section A

Inside the Wong Dai Sin Temple, large circular motorized skylights are linked to large red light monitors which defines the natural light entering the space and also provides supports for large rings of incense used for Taoist chanting and prayer ceremonies. These glowing red lanterns of varying diameters create a cosmic ceiling plan and provide ethereal natural light which co-mingles with burning incense creating a spiritual space linking sky and ground and connecting our interior self with the external world beyond. 

© James Dow
© James Dow

Within the prayer hall is the most introverted space in the Wong Dai Sin Temple which is its memorial hall. This small wooden building within the temple is a contemplative space where ancestors are honoured. Bamboo memorial plaques line this internal wooden room providing a place for private contemplation. There are opportunities for congregants to leave offerings of gratitude and to light incense in honor of their love ones. 

© James Dow
© James Dow

This space is inextricably tied to other ancient Wong Dai Sin Temples in other parts of the world through its manipulation and amplification of natural light, its instrumental use of colour and its commitment to a carefully composed and tactile material palette. The daily worship of one of the world's ancient religion of Taoism is embedded in the fabric of this modern sacred space.

© James Dow
© James Dow

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Shim-Sutcliffe Architects
Office
Cite: "Wong Dai Sin Temple / Shim-Sutcliffe Architects" 24 Aug 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/878269/wong-dai-sin-temple-shim-sutcliffe-architects/> ISSN 0719-8884
Courtesy of Shim Sutcliffe Architects

加拿大黄大仙祠 / Shim-Sutcliffe Architects