The overall design of the campus and its environment is underpinned by the Buddhist philosophy to:
- Establish a higher learning institution that nurtures the wellbeing of the students' holistic learning throughout their studies and beyond.
- Provide an environment of harmony, tranquillity and serenity to optimise learning outcomes.
- Provide quality education based on international standards and traditions.
- Foster understanding and respect amongst cultures and religions.
Architecture and Design Awards, shortlists and achievements
- World Architectural Festival (WAF) 2015
Completed Buildings, Higher Education and Research - Shortlisted
- Royal Australian Institute of Architects 2015
Educational Architecture, Shortlisted
- IDEA Awards 2015
Public Space, Shortlisted
- WAN Concrete in Architecture Award 2015
Design statement by Woods Bagot
The design of the Nan Tien Institute reflects the Buddhist ideals of Nan Tien, incorporating an architectural language in keeping with the Humanistic Buddhist teachings of Fo Guang Shan into a contemporary learning environment. As a result, the building is strongly connected to the environment, provides spaces conducive to quiet reflection, avoids hierarchy and values the ‘spaces in between’, and provides a neutral environment devoid of excess and materialism.
Global architecture firm Woods Bagot began with the metaphor of the lotus flower – a pristine, beautiful bloom that arises from the mud – as the starting point for the design of the building. The lotus flower was chosen to reflect the origins of the site, a former garbage tip adjacent to the Nan Tien Temple, bought by the Institute from the local council for one Australian dollar.
The structure of the building was formed by grouping spaces into four distinct pods, creating a ‘public’ space in between. The pods are linked by active bridges, allowing for the movement through the building to be a journey comprised of moments, destinations and thresholds. Curved walls and window openings have created a distinctive look for the building, with precast concrete used to create the signature form of the building.
The sculptural forms of the pods were made by pouring concrete into custom-made steel and timber moulds to form unique shapes, with the imprinted texture of the timber boards visible in the detail of the final pod facades. Terracotta tiles and screens were used on the North-East and West facades, linking back to the roof at the Nan Tien Temple and Pagoda. The undulating wave pattern of the screens create a sense of movement while providing environmental shading.
The design of the building reflects the Nan Tien Institute’s aims to foster a holistic education. The first campus building will cater for 300 students and is designed to provide an environment conducive to teaching and learning in the 21st century by creating a setting for community interaction, education and cultural exchange.