A rammed earth meditation center is the newest addition to Stanford University. Designed by Aidlin Darling Design with rammed earth by Rammed Earth Works, Windhover serves as a “sanctuary for quiet contemplation” amid the academic bustle. Landscaping by Andrea Cochran grounds the center to its site near a grove of mature California live oaks, while a reflective pool brings an additional level of calm and serenity to the space.
The meditation space has been designed to inspire a deep sense of calm. Massive walls of native rock, sand, and clay work their magic by quieting outside chaos and reverberating calm with a unique combination of thermal and acoustic stability. In addition to the attribute of tranquility, the rammed earth at Windhover was specifically designed as a backdrop to the paintings by Nathan Oliveira.
Building the massive walls with their distinct layers required specialized equipment, a unique skillset, and manpower—lots of it. A portable batch plant was set up on-site to mix the carefully combined materials, and a telebelt conveyor was set up to deliver the rammed earth mix to an eight-man crew that worked ten hours per day. The twenty foot tall wall required two long days, and required special permission to start ramming early in the day due to concerns of noise that may wake students—rammed earth is quiet when finished but loud when constructed.
According to Henri Person, a Stanford senior who sneaked a peek before the grand opening on October 8th, “The design lends a very naturalistic and ascetic feel to the space. It is a very relaxing place to be and a welcome reprieve from the constant busy-ness of the Stanford campus. It’s nice to have a place to sit still and breathe deeply.”
Images © Matthew Millman
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