Extra Care Housing Community

Year | 2014
Location | Walkley, Sheffield, UK
Client | Sheffield Buddhist Centre

The Sheffield Buddhist Centre is part of the Triratna community and is housed in a large listed building in the Walkley area of Sheffield. It offers a range of activities aimed at helping community members along their Buddhist path and teachings of the Triratna Buddhist Order.

As part of the Sheffield School of Architecture Live Projects, we have been working with the Triratna community through members of the Sheffield Buddhist Centre to investigate the creation of a ‘PALANA LOKA’, a place of care for the Buddhist community. The project is currently a vision with our brief being to help our client move through the process towards a realised scheme.

The Triratna community teaches that commitment comes first and lifestyle second. Our approach to the project keeps Buddhist values at its heart. With the client, we have expanded on the core principals of Buddhism to illustrate how the eight fold path can translate into an approach which forms an architectural process.

Conversation is seen as the external manifestation of the practice of meditation. The Triratna community views the act of drinking tea as a way to facilitate conversation. With this in mind we have blended our own tea to encourage communication amongst ourselves, our clients and as a tool to connect with the wider community.

We wanted to establish a rich picture of how Buddhist values influence the routines of the future residents of Palana Loka, in order that each persons lifestyle could be facilitated within their new home. We held a series of participatory workshops with a cross section of the community, exploring methods they can use to help create a shared vision.

To conclude six weeks of investigation, we have produced a series of tools that enables the clients to communicate a shared physical vision of the project to its future partners.

The booklet contains a package of research that helps to define what the overall grand project could or should be. It demonstrates how participatory practices can be used to create a design process that is inherently Buddhist, and it presents a series of spatial moves forged through research and participation workshops.

As a way to reach out to the wider Triratna community, we have designed a tea box that provides information about the project in the form of a gift of tea.

Buddhism is not a product, it is a path and a process. Our work is a base the clients can trust, and to which they can keep referring back as they continue along their journey to ‘Palana Loka’.

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