Half Dose #58: Prayer and Meditation Pavilion

One of the projects nominated for a Detail Prize 2009, in the Special Prize Architecture Export category, is this Prayer and Meditation Pavilion in Soba, Sudan by Venice, Italy's Studio Tamassociati.

[photo by Marcello Bonfanti | image source]

[photo by Marcello Bonfanti | image source]

While not selected as winner (FAR's popular Wall House nabbed that distinction), it's clear to see why the project was nominated in the first place, from the siting and its platonic exterior to the dramatic interior spaces.

[photo by Marcello Bonfanti | image source]

The plan corroborates the images above, that the pavilion is basically two cubes, tangent to each other on one face and shifted from each other about the distance of the half of one side. Slots and a peeling away of the outer walls create access points to each cube from opposite sides, across a shallow pool.

[plan and sections | image source]

Each space is topped by what look like bamboo canopies (but the award description calls palm leaf) in a steel frame, painted white to match the whitewashed walls.

[photo by Marcello Bonfanti | image source]

This bamboo, and the gaps between the frames, creates beautiful patterns of shadow on the walls and floors.

[photo by Marcello Bonfanti | image source]

The jury comments:
"The architects have succeeded in creating a neutral place for meditation for all religious and ethnic groups present in the Sudan. Using local materials and a straightforward design, they have built an objective room that has a marked simplicity. This is enhanced by the deliberate use of light and shadow and radiates a calming influence reinforced by the surrounding areas of water. Also praiseworthy is the sensitive use of local materials and design characteristics as well as of local builders."
[photo by Marcello Bonfanti | image source]

:: Studio Tamassociati
:: Detail Prize 2009


  1. omG its AMAZING..
    I hope I grow up to be such a special architect :)

  2. Oh, wow... just looking at the photographs made me utter a little prayer. Wonderful!

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  4. Only a design team living in Venice could be so sensitive to the relationship between building and water - its an ingrained Venetian desire to 'hover' just above the rising water line. (see also: Scarpa's work).

    Incredibly well considered.

  5. brilliant!
    i think it's not only understanding complexity of relations water - materia, but also the insight into Muslim soul and nature of meditation generally.


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