To round out their education at Bentleigh Secondary College southeast of Melbourne, students can practice meditation. Technically students can meditate anywhere, but a beautiful spot can certainly lead a person to peace more quickly. The Meditation and Indigenous Cultural Center was designed by DWP Suters to help teach students about meditation, sustainability and indigenous cultures. Crafted of sustainable wood, the multi-purpose pavilion is efficiently heated and cooled, serves as a CO2 sink and is powered by a wind turbine, all of which helps serve the ultimate goal of teaching mindfulness.
DWP Suters completed Bentleigh’s sustainable campus in South East Melbourne in 2009 and is now responsible for their new Meditation and Indigenous Culture Center (M&ICC). The small building is set in the school’s forest landscape and works as a piece of furniture – something to be used, sat on or around. Exterior steps serve as outdoor seating with views of the landscape and reflection pond. Meanwhile inside the space is open, flexible and smooth and can be used for a variety of activities. The center is used to support the school’s curriculum, which focuses on environmental and indigenous themes.
The angular exterior is clad in sustainably-harvested silvertop ash, which will age and turn grey over time. Inside, plywood is molded to the curving interior walls to create a soothing, meditative space. The building is also meant to reflect how people should age over time, with the exterior turning grey, but the inside remaining young and vibrant. A soon-to-be-installed geothermal heat pump will provide energy efficient heating and cooling and passive design and daylighting help to reduce energy use. Wood material acts as a carbon sink and a wind turbine installed nearby provides 100% of the energy needed for the building.
Images ©Emma Cross